The last few days we have made a point to get in the woods and near to some massive rocks. These jaunts usher in a different kind of imagination. I looked at the rocks along the Hazel River and wondered how big was the post-ice-age water flow that could move these house-sized boulders. How fast was the wind gust that knocked that tree down. On our hike up to Mosby's Rock, known during the Civil War for its great line-of-sight to the far Blue Ridge Mountains another kind of imaginative history comes into play.
Beyond wondering about the ice age, the movements of huge boulders and the accumulation of lichen, I also ponder what was it like when all these woods were pastures and there were no cars, no phones, no electricity. Walking back to our house I remember the various Thanksgivings I have spent in this home. There's the one when my daughter was born and she got to come home from the hospital on Thanksgiving night when I was a new mom. I ponder the meals we have created with friends, family, and neighbors; the plates, cups, and bowls we have served on; the gardens we have grown.
I remember during one of the last Thanksgivings that my mom had come to visit we walked each night at sunset. As the temperatures dropped the sun dipped behind the hills and flocks of geese came swooping in to land on various ponds. The geese were so close you could hear the pure feathery-muscle of what it takes to fly. Those moments of muscle, slanting light and cold air in our noses were the high point of the visit.
I have really enjoyed this series Novembrance in the Paris Review by Nina Mac Laughlin who is a writer and a carpenter in Cambridge, Massachusetts:
"During these feast days, dare the precipice. Look out and in, deep as you can. As you gather around a table to celebrate the bounty of the harvest, let things be messy and strange and complicated. How strange it is, to exist within, to belong, and how alienating, to be inside and outside at the same time, part of something and separate. How painful, how lucky, all this blood and love. A plate passed across space, a laugh, an easy or uneasy acknowledgment: here we are. For now, here we all are. And that is plenty