First Flakes

Today is a dank, dark early winter’s day, the kind of day whose cold seeps into one’s very bones. Here and there a few colorful leaves hold fast to otherwise bare branches. Now the conifers truly rule the landscape.

A couple of days ago I was deeply engaged in a video conference when a titmouse landed on the window sill just outside, watched me carefully for a couple of minutes, then flew away. Sure enough the backyard feeder was empty, a situation Jennie soon resolved in the titmouse’s favor. The past day or so having been chill, the neighborhood birds have mobbed the feeders and supply of feed has decreased markedly.

Out on the three season porch the geraniums and other plants seem to be doing well. Even though the sun now never makes it to that side of the house they seem content and healthy. At some point soon they will need us to bring them in for the winter, but for now they thrive. This bodes well for our hopes to use the porch as a greenhouse come early spring.

The house itself seems to have finally settled into the new season and we can move between rooms without necessarily being cold. We just finished putting on the storm doors and noticed an immediate difference in the comfort of the kitchen. With the arrival of winter we have found some of the leaks that plagued us last year and look forward to them being sealed this week.

We heard that a few folks saw flakes of snow Thanksgiving day, but today was our first sighting of the white stuff. We had a morning of light snow and the sky continues to threaten more. Although it is only a bit after two in the afternoon, dusk seems imminent, reminding us that we are only three weeks from the solstice. I imagine it will be dark by 4:30 today.

Last night we attended a small dinner party, our first in a very long time. We were eight, all vaccinated and most of us having received our booster. Inevitably the conversation around the table began with the threat of new variants, before moving on to creativity and the arts. It was reassuring to hear that some folks are still making a lot of work and exhibiting it, and we now have a couple of shows on our must go see list.

Given the growing threat from new variants our small pod is once again discussing stocking more non-perishables in the larder. We’re fairly confident that we will be able to return to picking up groceries and medicines curbside, but given the shortages we encountered last year we are trying to be thoughtful about the near future. I need my asthma inhalers and the demand for inhalers goes up during each wave.

I mostly managed to limit my exposure to Thanksgiving enthusiasm this year, until last night. On Thanksgiving day we enjoyed a late afternoon meal at a local restaurant. We chose a traditional Thanksgiving feast (Jennie, being a long time vegetarian, opted for the mac and cheese rather than turkey). It was satisfying to note that most of the food items were first hunted or cultivated by Native folks, before becoming traditions in Europe.

Once again we missed the annual Native gathering and protest at Pilgrim rock in Plymouth; maybe next year.

Last night there were the requisite “Happy Thanksgivings” without much awareness of how very problematic that is. Growing up my family always celebrated the day. It was only later I learned that the myth had almost nothing to do with the genocidal reality, although I strongly suspect my father knew and kept that knowledge to himself. Of course many families here in southeastern most Massachusetts trace their ancestors back to the Mayflower or thereabouts. There are also many Native people whose lineages stretch far further into the past, although they are largely ignored in the hubbub of the day, as is the day’s origins in the early settlers’ celebration of a massive act of genocide.

I guess the day pretty well reflects the reality of North American culture at the moment. It is a strange and disturbing time when settler culture is working overtime to erase anything and everything historically real. Too many people seem perfectly content to accept a sanitized, European centered story that omits Natives, Africans, and Hispanics. I find the situation both enraging and terrible sad.

5 thoughts on “First Flakes

  1. Our life seems to be moving in the same pattern as yours at this point. Michigan, if it were a country, would have the worst covid rate in the world so we have pulled back into our nest and are being very cautious about public places because almost half of our citizens are not vaccinated. We do see friends and family but are once again thinking about where each of us have been the previous week before we gather – and of course gathering is still small groups. My days are mostly filled with joy however. Today I was listening to The Nutcracker Suite as I looked out the window at a stage full of very big snowflakes dancing to the music. The stage was packed with dancers. Jim just made is first pot of spaghetti sauce and it smells wonderful. I will make the salad. Re your last paragraphs – I am angry and my heart aches at what so many are doing to hide the dirty linens from our past instead of having the courage to acknowledge them so healing can begin to take place as we all do our part to respect all cultures. Thank you for keeping me aware of the ongoing pain that this denial causes for all the individuals who have survived the genocides.

    1. Oh, Pat! Joy is so important; it is such a balm to the soul!
      Yes, the task of keeping unpleasant history on the table is daunting. Fortunately there are many of us trying to do so, although there may be more people who wish it erased…….
      I love the Holidays! Especially the food!

  2. Hungry lovely birds, we have them too! I agree on history. We are not supposed to study history because we might see a pattern that repeats, and how genocide can resurface and we won’t even recognize it. (I cannot stop thinking about how little we know when it comes to the past.)

    1. Lara, You are of course correct. It seems now t hat many people are determined to erase the past at all costs. WE do know so little, even about our own family histories. Yet, apparently all remembering is to be suppressed….

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