This is the week of Thanksgiving in the United States ~ anoccasion that was originally about deep gratitude for the bounty of the earth and the way it offered food and shelter to a band of 23 Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts. At that time these people were protected and supported by the Wampanoeg Indians who lived in a constant state of reverence and thanksgiving for the earth. Abraham Lincoln, many decades later, declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday, evoking healing images of unity at a fractured time in the United States.
In the spirit of remembering our right and generous relationship to this earth-and her original caretakers who understood this reciprocity in their bones- here is a poem to carry with us in our Day of Silence and this moment of embracing gratitude for all that is given such that we may live.
The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,
is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can't breathe.
No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.