Sunday Morning ~ Well Fed
Cidziwa ndi mwini mkhuto wa fulu. ~ Only the tortoise can know how well fed it is.
~ Chewa proverb
November 29, 2020
As the snow fell on Wednesday I realized I could just enjoy it without anxiety. It was the first thing to be grateful for the day before Thanksgiving. I didn’t have to worry about people traveling, only smile as I looked out my kitchen windows at the ground turning white, then turn back to my pies. There was no need for two pies this year; there was not even a need for one, but I like pie and love the smell of them cooking. I figured breakfast for the week would be pie. I usually make three: pumpkin, pecan, and apple, but this year I got seduced by a photo of a cranberry pie with streusel topping and decided to go wild. I had already intended to embrace this isolation and refused to get all weepy over the lone state of the holiday, my favorite of the year. I love cooking and I love feeding people, and I also like being grateful so Thanksgiving is my idea of the perfect culmination. I get that it’s history is steeped in rosy lore that has a very dark side. But at it’s core, wise, generous people helping refugees survive should be something to celebrate. The fact that those newcomers were terrible guests is another side of it. But I wanted to focus on the very basic idea of Thanksgiving. A desperate group of people fleeing persecution saved by a native group of people who held human decency in higher regard than ownership. It’s historical simplification is a fantasy, a boiled down version of the truth, but I appreciate a holiday focused on giving thanks for what we have, sharing a harvest, and valuing togetherness. The side dish of understanding how history gets distilled into snippets for good ratings is just starting to be served. We’re growing up.
This year we all agreed to stay put, either solo or with their household and be safe and responsible. Lord knows we’ve suffered enough as a country this year and the thought of adding risk to an already volatile situation was just not acceptable. So I watched the snow and thought how nice it was that I did not have to worry about anyone driving up that day. I usually busy myself frantically until everyone is safely parked in the driveway, often not until after midnight. It’s a lot of effort to get here: traffic, early winter weather, last minute travel delays, all moot this year.
I didn’t need to make the whole meal, but I still wanted the house full of the holiday senses, and I realized I could do that without exhaustion or worry. I made everything smaller and simpler. It was rather nice. I love that we can all be adaptable without mourning about it, after all, we are so very fortunate compared to many others. So we adjusted and accommodated and I heard no whining at all. We video called during the day, compared recipes and menus, and shared sentiments but not pathogens. I was glad to see everyone safe en place and my single place setting in front of the fire was quite lovely. I texted with friends from Malawi recalling the Thanksgiving dinner we hosted for sixteen when the power went out just as the meal was to be cooked. Chimemwe and Catherine lit a fire for me and we cooked everything outside, which, in the November heat there, made more sense anyway. This menu was definitely not designed for the tropics.
A small group of friends planned to walk in the morning then have an outside fire here with coffee and cider. We woke to pouring rain on Thursday, stunning how the temperature swings, and a fire was out of the question. We walked in rain gear, dripping from hat brims while we talked and appreciated the beauty of the island we live on, no matter the weather. A park ranger here said, “We have golden days and we have silver days.” and Thursday was definitely silver. After our soggy walk I made coffee on the porch and we stood apart, lowering our masks to sip. After coffee and chat we all went our separate ways, glad we could figure out a way to make the best of it.
And now that the soup is made, the pie shared, and garden vegetables gone, I’m turning to advent season where I’ll take stock and do my part to share what I have in hopes that everyone may be as well fed. The darkness is setting in but I look forward to the brighter days I know are coming.
Love to all,