Tuesday, November 22, 2016


The poet, Wendell Berry has stabbed me awake this Thanksgiving-time. He writes "Come to the window, look out, and see..." God knows I need to look out my window. For months I have been obsessed, worried, happy--depressed over this election. And now that this interminable hoop-la is over my heart almost stops when I read of some of the possible appointments by our new Commander in Chief. But it's Thanksgiving--and what do I have to be thankful about? Stupid question.

Wendell Berry gets my attention. Look out the window. And when I do this: "Oh-God-how-did-we- ever-get-to-this-place" doesn't really go away but makes make look at some things I have forgotten lately. Maybe a long time. I look out my window this Thanksgiving and what do I see.

"I see as blood-red tree in front of my house that has not lost its leaves. I see a house across the street with an American flag waving in the breeze. And from inside this widow comes out with her dog, carefully walking down the steps, holding on--because the arthritis never goes away. I see a crape myrtle with its yellow leaves and purple berries where blooms used to be. I see a tiny Indian woman holding a even-more tiny baby. She walks by every day and the love I see in her face is something to behold. Out my window a student runs by. And an old couple, holding hands shuffle up my street. If I squint my eyes and look to the left I see new houses going up. And Hispanics--mostly climbing ladders, nailing boards in place--manning a concrete truck. I see grass turning a brown color but covered today in those leaves that have lost some of their color. I hear the birds outside my window--chirping loudly since nobody is walking down their street. Trucks go back carrying supplies. The people that cut our grass and bushes rake and blow the leaves--and I wonder who they left back home--kids, wives? 

Two houses from
photo by Jack / flickr
me is a whole painting crew I got to know when they painted my house. Rough cigarette-smoking men, some missing more than a few teeth--but yet laughing and making the house they paint look great. My flowers have not yet faded--geraniums, even a few vincas and impatiens. My stone rabbit in the center of these plants--looks out and I wonder what he could be thinking. Down on the porch I saw a chipmunk today sitting on the bannister. Never saw that before. Taking in the sunshine--looking out. Wonder what he can see? The sky is blue gray today but sunshine and shadows bathe it all in glorious light.

This is Thanksgiving-time. I forget often that first Thanksgiving. Outside the camp were the mounded graves of those that did not make it. If legend holds there were Puritans and Indians and even maybe a skeptic or two at that gathering. But despite their hard days they sat down as if they were one and bowed their heads and gave thanks for the tiny bowls on that first table.

I put aside all this Trump-talk aside at least for a while. Sucking on that poison does no good at all. So I look out my window and try to pay attention. God knows I don't have too many years left and how can I fritter them away with the madness that has come and gone through the decades. They're not outside the window but their pictures are close by. My wife without whom I could not make it. Two kids that brought a multitude of joys this year. Two granddaughters--now grown--that grace me again and again.

That window makes me remember my friends some close and some far away. I call to mind all that laughter and craziness and just being together. I could bore you with a list that is seemingly endless. I won't do that. But Buechner says when we take down your own album and show someone your pictures--hopefully they will take down their own albums and remember.

Forget Trump's triumph or Hillary's defeat. Forget the shoulder that hurts. Worries about money and ailing friends and too many birthdays. Look out your window and open your eyes and your heart. I'll bet your cup will be filled and running over which I think is Thanksgiving.

So peering out the window is remembering time. Dostoevsky said it so beautifully: " And even if use are occupied with important things, even if we attain honor or fall into misfortunes, still let us remember how good it was once here when we were all together, united by a good and kind feeling which made us better perhaps than we are."

It's time to look out the window. I guarantee if you peer out there long enough you will be glad. 

photo by Liz / flickr

Roger Lovette / rogeerlovette.blogspot.com

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