I didn't know, I never have known, what spirit it is that descends into my lungs and flaps near my heart like an eagle rising. I named it full-of-wonder, highest good, voices. I shut my eyes and saw a tree stump hurled by wind, an enormous tree stump sailing sideways across my vision, with a wide circular brim of roots and soil like a tossed top hat.
Full-of-wonder. That's a pretty good term for what Dillard is describing. I have experienced it myself, walking across campus on a March day when a warm wind was blowing. It's a stirring of the soul. A movement from pupa to phoenix. And it happens unexpectedly, triggered by some inner earthquake.
It is Thanksgiving Eve. Tomorrow, almost everyone in the United States sits down with family or friends and shares a meal. Usually turkey. Sometimes ham. Mashed potatoes and gravy and stuffing and corn. The windows of the house are usually steamed with all the cooking. And there's a coming together. A communal sense of gratitude and blessing. Spirit lifting.
When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was always one of my favorite holidays. My mother would break out the tablecloth and linen napkins. Nice crystal. My parents would drink wine. My brothers and sisters would load up on their favorite dishes. For my sister, Sally, it was a strawberry Jell-O. My brother, Kevin, favored pumpkin pie. My sister, Mary, would make a turkey sandwich with homemade bread, mashed potatoes, corn, and gravy. Me? This may sound disgusting, but I've always loved the skin of the turkey.
Tonight, I have some cooking to do. My wife is making double-layer pumpkin pie. I have to throw together two pecan pies and a corn casserole. I am not a big pie eater. I hate pumpkin. I can take or leave corn casserole. But that's not the point. In the end, it really doesn't matter what we eat. It's about belonging, being a part of something bigger than myself. A full-of-wonder moment.
Tonight, Saint Marty gives thanks for turkey skin and family.