Eightball and Thundercloud's RANT

Rants, Essays, and Blogs by Eightball & Thundercloud
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It's Thanksgiving Again
by Eightball & Thundercloud

It snowed last night. The first snow of autumn. It used to seem like centuries between the last snow of spring and the first snow of autumn. Now it seems like only a few days. I still like seeing the first snowflakes fall, but it's not like it used to be. I remember being in school and seeing the first flakes of snow in the autumn and feeling trapped because I was not free to go outside and look up at the sky and let the snowflakes fall on my face.

Now, it seems that the snowflakes of spring and the snowflakes of autumn are but a few moments apart. Is time really moving faster now than it used to - or is it just me? Do children still experience time the way I used to when I was a child? As a child, I would wait for centuries for the first snow to come and when it did, I would rush to the window to watch - or better yet run outside without a coat to let the snowflakes fall on me. Now it hardly seems possible that I ever was a child. But I must have been.

I've grown up too much I guess. My favorite walking path, once dappled with summer sunlight and sheltered by a lush canopy of summer-green trees, now lies beneath barren trees and strewn with bitter old leaves and scanty patches of autumn's first snow. My favorite walking path, once bordered by bright and happy wildflowers is now dreary, forlorn and abandoned - save for my own footsteps shuffling slowly through the sadly dead leaves. The "only other sound's the sweep of easy wind and downy flake".

I think of Robert Frost. A verse from "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" fills my thoughts:

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep."

Walking alone, with my thoughts and Frost's poetry my only companions, I begin to realize it's Thanksgiving again. Wasn't it but a few weeks ago it was Thanksgiving? And, now it's Thanksgiving again? And Christmas, my favorite time of all, is only a few weeks away. I know it will seem like only minutes to me with my "grown-up" sense of time. And, how many miles to go before I sleep?

How unfair is it, that when we are children, with decades stretching before us, time passes so painfully slowly that days seem like weeks and weeks seem like months - we seemed to always be waiting for something. Then, when we are older, with much less time left in our lives, time is compressed and measured not by the passing of seasons, but by events. Events like Thanksgiving, remind us how precious every moment is. Time, once a river that flowed lazily through open pastures has now become a river of crazy rapids moving so swiftly through the gorges of life that we can hardly catch our breath. Is this a joke nature plays on us? Or is it a much needed lesson we need to learn? A lesson to prepare us for what lies ahead? It is said that nature is very tough teacher because she gives the tests first and then the lessons. I realize now how true that is.

I am beginning to learn what nature has been trying to teach me all along - That every moment is a blessing and time indeed waits for noone. George Eliot once wrote: "The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone." Such a profound thought. And, so very true.

Last Thanksgiving, my step-mom was nearing the end of a long and difficult illness. She was a woman who had always marched to a different drummer. And her laughter, sincere, unique and genuine, still echoes in my mind even though she's been gone now almost a year.

Sadly, I had not been close to my dad and step-mom for a very long time. When my step-mom became ill, I began spending a lot of time with them, caring for them, and I began to get to know them all over again for the very first time.

Last Thanksgiving was to be my step-mom's last and strangely she knew it too. As the end of her life grew near, I spent a great deal of time with her. Though she was terribly ill, here laughter never changed. Though she was very sick, she still laughed that laughed when I said funny things to her. But most importantly, we took time to really talk. And, we had some great conversations - better than any we had ever had before.  Before she was sick, I was always "too busy" to take the time to really talk to her. I was too busy to take the time to really get to know her.

Then, one day, she said something that really made me stop and think. She said that she had seen a part of me that she had never seen before. A compassionate, kind and gentle side. And I was stunned when she said this. It was just two days before she died. I was shocked, I guess, because I've always thought of myself as a compassionate person. How terribly strange and sad that it wasn't until her final two days on this earth that we finally got to know each other. I realized how much I had missed - waiting until the last minute to get to know this wonderful person. Indeed:  "The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone."

We never know what tomorrow will bring and when the end of our journey will come. Holidays, like Thanksgiving, are opportunities for each of us to stop and and remember that time is a gift; that our children, parents, families, and friends wonderfully precious. We should be thankful every day, not just once a year. But it's Thanksgiving again. Time to take time to think about the truly wonderful blessings each of us can count.

Thanksgiving is also a time when we should stop and remember those who are not as fortunate as we are - take time to remember those who are less fortunate and reach out to them in your prayers.

It's Thanksgiving again. I hope each of you will take time to really get to know those who are closest to you. Take time to listen to them and remember how very precious they are to you. Take time for the important things in your life. Do not follow my example and wait until it is nearly too late. Don't look and see "only sand" when an angel comes to visit you. The river we all ride upon flows one direction, and it flows faster and faster for each one of us. We are all rushing through the narrow gorges of life. And not one of us can change the river upon which we all ride.

It's Thanksgiving again. Make this Thanksgiving special by taking time for the precious ones in your life. Your family, your friends, and you.

We wish each of you a truly precious and blessed Thanksgiving. May the memories you make be with you forever. Happy Thanksgiving.

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