Friday, November 27, 2009

Giving thanks

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. In fact, the only thing that keeps it from being unequivocally my favorite holiday is the whole remnant pilgrim/Indian thing; it continues to strike me as insulting (at best) to insist on that particular national myth, as if the founding of this particular nation did not take place on the bodies of those who lived here before. I find the happy pilgrim/Indian iconography deeply disturbing, given the genocide that it hides. It is entirely reasonable (and in fact, so much more reasonable) to have a holiday whose main goal is to focus on giving thanks for what we have, without adding that layer of denial.

If all of that extra layer of myth-making were wiped away, then what would be left is, really, a harvest festival, something of which I heartily approve. Quite simply, this is the time to turn inward, the time when everything moves towards its winter rest, the time of quiet growth in the dark. At its heart, Thanksgiving seems to me to be a chance to stop a moment in order to be quietly grateful that I have food to eat, a safe, warm place to cook it, and people I love to share it with. The core things. The things that really matter.

One of the best bits about celebrating up here is that my parents' home has amazing access to walking paths and to the American River bike trail. So we've taken several long walks each day (to Tilly's great joy; on the topic of giving thanks, one of the best ways to remember to be grateful for the small things is to watch the joy of a dog running after squirrels).
The weather has, until this morning (the rain clouds finally arrived), been perfect, which makes for beautiful views of the river.
The whole trail along the American is lined with piles of rounded river rocks. I don't know whether they were carried there by the river in past centuries of flood, or whether they were piled there by intrepid panners for gold during the Gold Rush (Rick's theory; I subscribe to the former). I also don't know that it matters; I love looking at them either way.
Right now, the salmon are running, so the upriver side of the bars are filled with seagulls and vultures and herons, eating their fill of the river's bounty. These turkey vultures are taking a break from all the feasting in the sun.

Last but not least, I should mention that this year I'm feeling grateful to have finished Elektra Redux. It fits, I wore it last night, and I'm so much happier with it. Ripping and reknitting was the right choice.
The yarn survived the ripping fairly well, I think, and everything blocked out quite neatly. I'm much happier with the color distribution in this version, as well.
To recap. This is Elektra Redux (Rav link), knitted from Twisted Sisters Petite Voodoo (a silk/merino blend), on size five needles, size extra small. So I went down a size, both in pattern and needles, and it's definitely not too small. It fits much better than the first version, and I think I'll be wearing this a lot.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Jane said...

All that hard was worthwhile, Elektra looks wonderful. Looks like you've had a lovely time with the family

Willow said...

Yes it's the Electra! Not Zimmermann Surprise Jacket. If I had been paying any attention at all I would have realized that. It looks great!

Wool Enough said...

Bravo! Elektra Redux is gorgeous. Perfect fit, stunning colors, striking style, oh my. I'll remember your experience the next time I feel dubious about a knitted outcome.

Rachel said...

Happy belated Thanksgiving from Jerusalem.

Your new elektra looks beautiful and so different than the first version and you knitted it so fast, very goo choice indeed :)

Nana Sadie said...

Ok. Topic one? AGREED.
Topic two? What a gorgeous area, and of course, you're walking!
Topic three? OMG - it's gorgeous, and you're so right you had to reknit!
Congratulations...and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wanderingcatstudio said...

A beautiful place to spend some time!
Elektra looks great!

PammieJR said...

The new Elektra is amazing, WOW!

I feel ya on the Thanksgiving thing. The myths have bothered me since I knew they were myths. But in my decorating for the day I focus on the turkey and think of it as a celebration of family and food.

AlisonH said...

My husband's family represents both sides of that original Thanksgiving feast, dating back to the 1600s when the idea of taking a Native American to wife was Not Done--but his ancestor Did So. Multiculturalism, straight from the Mayflower.

Mary Lou said...

Ripping and reknitting really worked out well. It reminds me of writing or working on something on the computer and it disappears -in the rewriting you discover ways to improve it.

twinsetellen said...

I think Alison nailed this one - instead of simply wiping the myth out, I'd like it replaced with a vision of gathering together in peace and true acceptance, not just tolerance. Yes, to achieve that does take addressing the real history.

I'm glad the holiday has been wonderful for your family - here's to the coming season continuing in that vein! (Though less frogging of major projects, excellent results notwithstanding.)

Alwen said...

Elektra is striking, and look at the blue you have in your sky!

We had sun with a thin cirrus layer, so we get an icy blue-white glowing milk-glass sky.

Bea said...

On the pilgrim/Indian thing one of my girl friends and I were surprised that neither of her two boys (1st and 3rd grade) had any sort of Thanksgiving "lessons". No redefined histories. No plays. No turkey drawings. No nothing. Very strange. So I guess in that school district they are doing less to promote then incorrect history.

The walking trails sound wonderful. I live near a state park and several "city" parks (really they are all the same thing surrounding the lake I live in the middle of...silly to classify them differently) and the thing that is really lacking are walking trails.

I think Elektra looks fabulous. Seems to fit you perfectly. Definitely the right decision to knit it again.

Roger R. said...

I love the green stripes on the Elektra. Mainly, though, I want to share a horrible T-day joke.

Why do pilgrims pants always fall down?
Because they wear their belt buckles on their hats.

Hooray for harvest festivals!

Roger's mom, D

Geri said...

Looks like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. The river looks beautiful.

The Electra looks great. The reknit was worth the effort.

Sheepish Annie said...

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! And Elektra is lovely. Nice work!

Stell said...

really really nice - Elektra - and I love the way the colours sing together. Being outside of the thanksgiving celebration here in NZ, we only get a caricature of thanksgiving shown in sitcoms and movies, so it looks a very odd celebration. Harvest festivals I can relate to, and love to celebrate with heavily laden table and enjoyment of seasons fruiting and turning. Enjoy the break.

Gwen said...

Elektra turned out beautifully! (and that was a fast reknit)

Harvest festival I can do. It's nice to do Thanksgiving with folks who did not go through our country's indoctrination/myth-building. No little paper people on my table.

RobinH said...

It's gorgeous! I love the way the blue-green drapes over your shoulders, falling into deep blue pools front and back.

And I recently read Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick, and 1491 by Charles Mann. Even allowing for some bias on part of the authors, they paint a pretty damning picture, and not one I ever learned in school.

EGunn said...

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, too. It's definitely a harvest festival in our house, and I think that's really all it ever was...the myth might have been a good story (debatable), but I think the thing that made the first Thanksgiving memorable was an honest appreciation for a good year.

Elektra is beautiful! I love the colors!

Lynne said...

I agree totally: food to eat, somewhere safe and warm to cook it and loved ones! That says it all!

We don't have Thanksgiving in Australia. If we had one it would surely have to be in April or May - the end of autumn and the harvest season.