Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, 8;30 AM. 40 degrees F, wind W, light with occasional stronger gusts. The sky is mostly overcast with stratospheric thin, gray clouds but the sun is struggling to shine through. There is considerable haze over Madeline Island and the barometer again predicts rain but I think it is a weak front. I will not hunt today, as Joan needs help with getting ready for guests.
It has been a weird deer season. Yesterday afternoon was beautiful, sunny, the barometer bumping up off the bottom for a change and the wind was quiet for once. So, I went and sat in my tree stand for a couple of hours until almost dark. I saw nothing, except for a silent blue jay that swooped down and put a couple of kernels of corn in his craw and flew off again, without so much as uttering a thank you. Yet on my way back to the truck there were fresh deer tracks on the logging road, only about 100 feet from where I had been ensconced. The deer had taken little, mincing steps…not running, not in any hurry, just ambling along. How could I not have seen or heard them? I was facing the opposite direction, but even so! Maybe I dozed off for a few minutes, I don’t know. Oh, well…
Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday, as it has no real ideology except thankfulness and family. And there is nothing wrong with an occasional feast day, despite PETA attempting to spoil it all by accusing us of killing and eating turkeys, those “intelligent, sensitive creatures,” and attempting, like all tyrannical entities, to turn children against their parents. You would think we were all cannibals for consuming farm turkeys, which are about as intelligent and sensitive as a fence post.
But, PETA and other crazies aside, Thanksgiving is a day to enjoy life and family, and to celebrate our freedom and good fortune. We will not be with family again this year, but perhaps next year we can gather children and grandchildren under one roof again somewhere in this great country; as for today, we will do what many others will do also. We will gather a surrogate family for the feast, a few other lonely soles far from their families, and we will give thanks and celebrate. Have you ever noticed that Americans are very good at gathering themselves together, becoming a family when the occasion calls for it? I don’t believe most other cultures are very prone to do that. Tribal societies do that quite well; I see our Indian neighbors doing it all the time.
I like to think of Americans not so much as a nation, but as a great extended family; not a tribe based on genetics, but a tribe, if you will, based on shared cultural values and deeply held beliefs. My faith in that concept sometimes wavers, but Thanksgiving invariably renews it.