Thursday, November 23, 2017

Scrambled with a Side of Gratitude

Thanksgiving morning.


Eggs are scrambling up yellow and fluffy in the pan. Thank you, chickens, for laying them. Thank you to my friend P, for collecting the eggs and letting us buy them. Thank you, Mr. M, for scrambling them. (How do you get them so fluffy? They never look that good when I cook them.)

Chopped chives come from the freezer to garnish the eggs. Thank you, landlord, for letting us grow herbs on the doorstep. Thank you, God, for the sun and rain that caused the chives to grow. Thank you to the workers who built the fridge, to those who loaded it onto a truck, to the truckers who brought it to a warehouse and then to us, so we could store up the summer's bounty and enjoy it later.

The eggs are dusted with salt and pepper and paprika. Thank you, far-off folk who mined the salt; thank you, tenders of the pepper vines from whence the peppercorns came; thank you, growers of peppers for paprika. Thank you, sorters and mixers and packagers and transporters of these tiny miracles of flavour.

In another pan, apples are sizzling in melted butter. Thank you, farmers, for growing the apples. Thank you, workers, for harvesting them. Thank you, cows, for giving the cream to make the butter. Thank you, dairy farmers, for tending the cows and milking them. Thank you, creamery workers, for turning the cream into butter.

Brown sugar and cinnamon are stirred into the apples. Thank you, sugar cane growers and mill workers. Thank you, harvesters and packers of cinnamon bark. Thank you, spice company employees, for bringing and blending cinnamon from many countries, and making it available to us.

Water is steaming in the kettle for coffee and tea. Thank you, diggers of wells and maintainers of village water supplies, who make it so easy for us to access this fountain of life. Thank you, makers of teakettles. Thank you, growers of coffee and tea. Thank you, workers who plucked the beans and the leaves, who dried and packaged and transported them from lands beyond the horizon. Thank you, friend (you know who you are) who sent Mr. M the coffee-making apparatus he uses daily.

Breakfast is put on the table. Thank you, workers who produced these plates. Thank you, miners who dug the metal for our forks, and thank you, metalworkers who made them. Thank you, far-off hands that printed the flowers on the placemats. Thank you, God, for the trees that gave the wood for the table and chairs. Thank you, woodworkers, who made them.

Sunlight is streaming through the south-facing windows, filling the rooms with light and warmth. Thank you, long-gone builders of this house, for the enduring work of your hands. Thank you again, God, for the sun, and for windows and walls that keep out the cold.

Thank You for the jobs that gave us money to buy this food, and for the health that lets us cook it and enjoy it. For all our uncountable blessings, thank You.


Just a simple breakfast, yet so much to be thankful for: the overarching love and grace of God, the overlapping work of many hands. The circle of gratitude grows and grows, reaching across nations, spanning space and time.

Thank you for reading this. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Fires of Autumn

The fires of autumn burned slowly this year. Not for us the spectacular leafy conflagration of other falls; instead, a slow build and a long flicker, as a tree here and a tree there yielded to the shortening days and cooling nights.

There were, however, some pockets of glorious colour. We found one on a drive through the next county one sunny day in late October.

Red oak under a blue sky:

The full fall spectrum - green, blue, gold, scarlet, brown:

Maple leaves in layers of beauty:

 On the floor of the woods, a study in browns:

Carpet of impermanence:

More maple leaves, like flocks of small bright birds in a dim wood:

A leaf that blew in the open window of the car as we drove:

Heavenly October sky:

O the enchanted roads of autumn!


Late October was also distinguished by some spectacular sunsets....

One evening we had a double rainbow...

...followed by an a sunset so stunning as to seem almost unreal:


In other, less glorious October news: I was a big baseball fan in my Southern California youth - a youth somewhat blighted, I may say, by watching our beloved Dodgers lose the World Series more times than I care to remember.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Suddenly it's mid-November, and a grey November too. We're in the fading stage of fall, where the lawns are still somewhat green, but trees and fields are subsiding into a sameness of (rather drab) colour. Sub-freezing nights have killed off the last of the lingering garden plants, and a sharp northwest wind has been blowing.

Now for the long cold, the lengthening northward shadows, the putting up of winter curtains, the early nightfall. Now for evenings of crochet and hot cocoa, with flannel sheets beckoning at the day's end. To everything there is a season.

How is your November going?

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