Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How Time, The Weather, Big Balloons and The Wind Flies

I stopped by the HoB last night and didn't realize it had been nearly a week since my last official visit. There's been lots happening, and despite having every good intention of stopping in and letting loose, somehow I've been remiss in that last part, so this pre-Thanksgiving post should serve as a quasi-catch-up as to where I've been.

First, obviously, tomorrow being Thanksgiving, I've been pondering the ramifications and the factors which, for me, make Thanksgiving such a special holiday. Since 2004, I've had a new take on what the holiday means -- not only because my father is healthy and happy, but because my family, and I, are happy and healthy. posed a question in one of its daily polls regarding why Thanksgiving is so special; the question offered the meal, family and friends, a day of football and a day off from work as its choices. For the first time in awhile, I couldn't honestly answer. It's not that I'm not a Thanksgiving fan -- I am -- it's just that it's not the only day we become full-on gluttons. Sure, having a deluxe roast turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, dressing/stuffing, cranberry mold and cranberry sauce and a variety of sweet, savory and otherwise delectable foodstuffs from which to choose is never a bad thing. It's just that I enjoy the eating part of Thanksgiving but that's not why, for me, it's a celebration. The notion of Thanksgiving being a day of football is true, but it's ancillary. In truth, despite the NFL adding an unprecedented third game tomorrow, the day is about football, but for me, the New York Giants are football, so a day without a Giants game is sort of pissing in the wind. I'll watch if only because the games are televised and I'd prefer watching that than some after-school special about some epileptic break-dancer from Cleveland who is visited by the ghost of Christmas present, played by M.C. Hammer.

The day, I suppose, is about family and friends -- but the problem in that description is that since 2004, when we as a family survived a significant rough period, every day, on some level, is Thanksgiving. We've been through so much as a family since then that it's hard to point to one day to celebrate one another, and I have made -- successfully -- a concerted effort to acknowledge and appreciate my family and the friends that are in my life. Doing so on only one day, in hindsight, seems sort of inadequate, and while I recognize that many people don't have the close relationship with their family which I do, and that many people live far from any semblance of family, it's understandable, for them, to look to tomorrow as a day to celebrate their families and friends. For me, however, it's not simply about that.

For me, tomorrow marks another annual celebration of the passage of time. Some people regard New Year's as a time to check their progress -- their lives, their relationship(s), etc. -- but for me, tomorrow is a time to not only acknowledge my appreciation for my family and our collective health, it is also an acknowledgment, for me as an adult, as to where I am in my life and how my family has and does and continues to shape me as a person. There's a song by James Taylor called "The Secret O' Life" that features some mighty powerful lyrics. Against my better judgement, I've included them at the end of this post for all to peruse. The phrasing that most sums it up for me is "Nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill. But since we're on our way down, we might as well enjoy the ride."

So in retrospect, I'm looking forward to gorging myself on bitchin' eats, spending time watching football with my dad, laughing and relaxing with my mom and my sister, and enjoying the passage of the day, of time, and the ride.

However, this year's Thanksgiving won't be all warm skies and butterflies. My grandmother -- who is not going to be spending Thanksgiving with us -- has been having a tough time being so far away, and we've been trying to figure out how to a) go visit her on or around the holiday, and b) work out getting her moved closer to us. So as much as Thanksgiving is a celebration of freedom of the catastrophic meltdown of 2004, my family, food and enjoying the passage of time and of life, not having her with us -- and having her feeling badly about that -- weighs on me. In addition, my aunt's father passed away after a long, protracted illness. I was never close with him but he was always a stalwart presence, the kind of guy that enjoyed and embodied life. Hearing news he had died affected me in a strange but subtle way. So forgive me if I sound melodramatic in observing that the weather, having turned cold and rainy, seems, at least in part, to reflect how I'm feeling this year.

The other negative, though it's not quite as extreme, is the fact that Kaia will be in Cali this year. We've both been dealing with a lot of work-related turmoil, and as I've disclosed above, I've got a lot to handle vis-a-vis my grandmother. At one point, I wasn't sure if I could spend the time heading out to San Fran because I was assuming I might head out to see my grandmother, and being that I spend a good deal of my working hours out of the office, downtown and at City agencies, spending so much time out of town would have not been feasible. So in short, not seeing her, or having her near me, over this holiday, is difficult in and of itself; not having her near with so much happening family-wise has been really difficult. There are relationships that can be emotionally draining and toxic; I know because I've survived one. However, despite all she's been through work-wise, all she has done has been to keep me level and keep me grounded. Anytime I've had things weighing on me, whether it's work-related, personal stuff or about the two of us, it only would take a few minutes' time for her to get me back in the right place. So despite her spending Thanksgiving out there, it's still disappointing knowing I won't be able to look over in her direction every so often and be thankful for her being in my life.

I think, on some level, there are people who "survive" life -- they go through the motions, they address their obligations, and they feel, as a result, that they are in control of who they are and their destiny on this planet. I'm not sure if any of us are actually in control of our destinies, but I am happy to say, taking stock of where I am, my family, my other half, and my life in general, there is very little I would change. And that, for me, is really what the essence of Thanksgiving is all about.

I'm sure I'll be back here in a day or two, but in the meantime, I want to wish all of you a happy and healthy and wonderful Thanksgiving.

James Taylor
The Secret O' Life

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
Any fool can do it, there ain't nothing to it.
Nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill.
But since we're on our way down, we might as well enjoy the ride.

The secret of love is in opening up your heart.
It's okay to feel afraid, but don't let that stand in your way.
Cause anyone knows that love is the only road.
And since we're only here for a while, might as well show some style. Give us a smile.

Isn't it a lovely ride? Sliding down, gliding down,
try not to try too hard, it's just a lovely ride.

Now the thing about time is that time isn't really real.
It's just your point of view, how does it feel for you?
Einstein said he could never understand it all.
Planets spinning through space, the smile upon your face, welcome to the human race.

Some kind of lovely ride. I'll be sliding down, I'll be gliding down.
Try not to try too hard, it's just a lovely ride.
Isn't it a lovely ride? Sliding down, gliding down,
try not to try too hard, it's just a lovely ride.
The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.

1 comment:

Kaia said...

Beautifully written - love you madly - miss you more - always - K