This past weekend was Thanksgiving up here in Canada – my favourite holiday in the middle of my favourite time of year. The trees are all red-orange-golden now, the evenings are crisp and the days still warm, the last of the flowers are blooming and the sky is either a deep, deep blue, or layered in dramatic greys. It’s beautiful!
I have fond memories of Thanksgivings as a child. For the most part we spent the long weekend up at our cottage in the woods with my grandparents and my great aunt. We made Christmas cakes and, when I was younger, Halloween costumes. The most important things were that we were together, the leaves were changing and we had lots of delicious food.
That’s what Thanksgiving is all about – families and good food – and this year was one of the best. We spent it at my cousins’ house in Kingston. Kingston is two hours away from us, and two hours in the other direction away from my mother so it’s a perfect meeting place for everyone.
As we drove past firey-leaved forests, faded ochre fields and the quintessential faded grey barns of Eastern Ontario, I consciously severed my connections to all things online. I had left my laptop and iPad behind and, though I had my phone with me, I had no plans to do any writing or note taking.
I wanted to be in the moment, focused on the people I was with. And I needed a break after a month of trying to balance working and writing.
Kingston is a pretty little town on the water, with quaint brick and stone buildings throughout its downtown area. My mother was staying downtown, so I did get to see some of that but my focus was my family who live on the outskirts.
My cousins mean the world to me and I love watching my son and his second cousins playing together and having some of the same experiences my cousins and I had when we were their age. It was just so fulfilling to have two days to focus on these special people.
My cousins have always been a bit more than cousins to me – kind of like the siblings I never had – and that all comes back as soon as we are together. We shared memories, laughter, tears, the burdens of life, and more than a few glasses of wine. I felt like I was home — warm and happy. I’m always moved by how much these people, my people, mean to me.
Two days passes so quickly but even now I can feel how much that time together nourished my soul.
As we drove back to Ottawa late on Sunday afternoon, the sun was setting and the whole world seemed to be aglow. It was a perfect chance to reflect on the weekend.
When I got home, I finally looked at the Yeah Write prompt for the week and admit I felt at a loss. I must have really shut that part of my brain down! But then I looked at the pictures on the site and an idea started to form. I very quickly had 3 posts in my head all jostling and screaming to come out.
Why does that always happen in the shower when I have nothing to write with?
This was the first of those three posts. I hope I’ll get to the next two in time.
In the meantime, and in keeping with the spirit of thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what I am thankful for.
My family and the ties that bind.
The beauty of our countryside.
Pumpkin pie (even the vegan, gluten free kind).
That feeling of inspiration that comes right before I start writing.
Having the sense to take a break.
Whether you just celebrated Thanksgiving, whether you will be celebrating it in November, and even if you don’t celebrate it at all, I wish you the same happiness I enjoyed this weekend, and the positive experience of realizing how great the great things in life actually are.