and so we give thanks. not merely for a day to be amongst family — some of us cannot — or to eat bountifully — some of us cannot — or to take off from work and be at rest — some us dare not. but, no, we give thanks for what, though we hold it to be self-evident, unassailable, indeed — inalienable, is only given to us by lucky chance. being here.
opportunity. opportunity as chance. a chance at life. a CHANCE at liberty. and a CHANCE at happiness (though the pursuit of it leads us down many a winding road).
oh, there are crimes. great, heavy, suffocating crimes for which we, as a country, must all undertake the burden of blame. for without those crimes, we are not as we are today. we have done wrong, and heaped wrongs upon those wrongs, and yet still come through in tact. for that, we should give thanks.
we give thanks not simply by being thankful, but by reinvigorating the machinations of that thanks. thank your friends, and your neighbors, and the food you eat. thank those who made the food. not only cooked it but, indeed: MADE it. thank the decency that is MORE rampant in everyday people than the evil that rears its head above the kind mob. thank the darkness in which you sleep. and the light in which you work. (or vice versa: #livebymusic).
and give thanks to the day. and the moment. the moment whose provenance is all the moments before it, ill or good.
but thanksgiving is not simply an emotion. or a state of mind. it is not a day’s pause for reflection. the act thanksgiving is more than that — it is the sundering of self in the service of continuing good. a reaffirmation of choice. and a course correction when we have been base, or ill, or malicious and yet have still plundered on.
we give no quarter to greed or avarice. we give thanks. it is a notion that is greater than the savage and violent history of this land. for, though the practice is imperfect, the notions — like the universal laws of science — hold true even as they grow to mean things greater than their first discovery.
abstractions, yes. but noble ones.
even alone, in my crumbling apartment on Thanksgiving — i am not afraid that all is lost. for there is nobility in working even now, even still. to live and die by the sword of aesthetics — it is a privilege, even as it is a constant kick in the teeth. this next sip of bourbon, puff of cigar smoke, strain of Coltrane, memory from down the relatively short path my life has wended thus far — all brought to me by my circumstance. and the circumstances around me. and the history and the generations of love and loss and regeneration and slaughter that comes down to us precious few who still stride across the earth. and, from where I sit, even down just to me. the most preciousest few: one.
one who is thankful. and can bend to his work because he lives and, indeed, can.