As is the case with us all, I have been guilty of chasing the fairy tale and waking up in the pumpkin, but, I also make a remarkable pumpkin pie. As Thanksgiving looms in the near future with Christmas right behind, it is wise to reflect on our many blessings those obvious and those not so. This weekend on a Christmas shopping trip in New York, I grew deeply appreciative of three unsung blessings in my life –wrinkles, time and dirt.
In Buddy the Elf-like wonderment, I traversed the Westchester County Mall taking in the spectacle of the shops and of the moms in knee-high, 5 inch heeled boots pushing Burberry clad babies in strollers through a vast expanse of consumerism. It was not long before I was stopped by Abe, the kiosk skin care salesman who no doubt saw my pasty, 40-something, Vermont skin coming and thought he had struck gold. As he examined my face he told me my problem was that I smile too much, and as he smothered my face in Dead Sea salt infused oils, he repeatedly asked me to refrain from smiling. When his application by force was complete, he gushed over how youthful the left side of my face now looked and then built a strong case for me to purchase his $400 regimen. I politely declined his offer and turned both sides of my face, now separated by generations apparently, away. He grabbed the pamphlet I had been holding out of my hand and dismissed me.
Walking away, I smiled defiantly thankful for this consequence of aging. Years of smiling does, in fact, deepen the wrinkles around our eyes and how fortunate we are for that outward proof that we’ve been happy. As the day passed, I enjoyed the shops and the irony in learning that purchasing a Tory Burch wallet makes it less likely that you will have anything to put into it for awhile. I appreciated the opportunity to complete Christmas shopping in one place and in one day, were one to have the stamina. But, I missed the humanity of Vermont. There was a frenetic tempo to it all that was unfamiliar and uncomfortable. I am thankful that the pace in Vermont allows time for pleasantries, and for discussions about the weather, for limited business hours during deer season, and for holding doors open for strangers to pass through.
The next morning I gathered my things and headed to the hotel parking garage. There among the New York plates and sparkling SUV’s was my mud covered Jeep with its new studded snow tires. In that moment, I was silently overwhelmed with gratitude that it would be taking me home to the dirt road that was responsible for its appearance. It is something to enjoy the Christmas shopping fervor, but it is quite another to quietly reflect on and give thanks for those things that cost nothing and that tether us back to this earth and to each other. Happy Thanksgiving!