Giving thanks for our harvest

SUBHEAD: Future Thanksgivings may soon be more like the first one. Not a time of gluttonous consumption, but a time to be grateful for a hard earned harvest. Image above: Starving, worn out Pilgrims reach Plymouth rock. From By Juan Wilson on 25 November 2009 - The first Thanksgiving was not a time of plenty for the Pilgrims in the New World. Although many of us are unemployed or underemployed right now, supermarket shelves are still overflowing. This still a land of plenty for most of us and we'll all have access to as much turkey and stuffing as we can eat in 2009. For the majority of Americans this may be the last comfy Thanksgiving long time into the future. This might be a good time to say thanks and really mean it. There is some indication that the distribution of 16-pound frozen Butterballs and sealed packages of Pepperidge Farm stuffing-mix might be low the on the list of re-stocking priorities next Thanksgiving. If that's true, we may be scrambling next November to pull off the classic American Turkey Day we've become accustomed to. This is not to say Thanksgiving won't be a meaningful ritual next year... it just might not be a celebration of gluttony. It may be more like the first Thanksgiving in New England over 350 years ago. Then the pilgrim settlers were facing starvation in a new landscape where their traditional food sources were not available. It was with the aide of indigenous Americans using their traditional means that the settlers shared a locovore meal before they faced a long cruel winter. Truly a time to be grateful. When I was growing up Christmas was not on the horizon until after the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers were polished off or thrown out. That's when the Seasonal decorations went up in the stores. The whole holiday season lasted about a month. But that season has been spreading, much like the guts on Americans that it targets. Today Thanksgiving is just one part of an extended consumer shopping season that now stretches from s few weeks before Halloween until the White Sales in January; a full three months of binging. I predict that consumer model will be put in its grave this holiday season. Our holiday celebrations will once more be distinctly different and stand-alone. They will be separated from the defunct credit-card-culture and be related to their spiritual roots based in seasonal change. When I was growing up Thanksgiving was a time when extended family came together. We went to grandma's. Saw the cousins and aunts and uncles. Back then (the 50's and 60's) we came together by car. Thanksgiving is still the time to get together with family and friends; but now its by jet plane. Thanksgiving is now the peak weekend of airline travel in the year. I suspect that that will no longer be the case. Perhaps as soon as next year Thanksgiving will once again be a gathering of neighbors and relations; but sorted by their proximity. Much of the ritual sharing of food will likely come from the back yards and larders near where you live. Of course for generations football had been a traditional part of Turkey Day. When I was a kid football was played outdoors in winter weather. It was played on the radio in the background. But back in the late 60's it was commonly televised live. I came to realize that Thanksgiving had become a place where several unattractive overlapping American tendencies were focusing. 1) Macho Sports, 2) American Patriotism, 3) Corporate Consumerism, 4) Militarism. Support for the War in Vietnam was encouraged with a Marine Band playing the national anthem before the big game. Today football is televised from sunny summer stadiums onto 50" color plasma screens that dominate American homes. The US Air Force Blue Angels jet low over the football half-time as Taylor Swift accompanies the Rolling Stones on a pyramid stage lit by lasers. Now that's culture! Like the Roman Colosseum games, this is the spectacle of empire. Not a pretty site. The future will be brighter as we accept a more humble heart-felt thanks for simpler lives that look forward to another harvest. Let's give thanks, Pilgrim. See also: Island Breath: Give Thanks No More 11/23/05 .

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

who is taylor swift, anyways?

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