It was too late when I realized I had no centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table.
We weren't having company, so at first I told myself it didn't matter.
But then I realized it did matter. A centerpiece would make the table look more festive ... less like every other day. More like the holiday it was.
I needed, wanted to find something.
Not an easy task in Maine, mid-November where the landscape shifts to varying shades of brown, tan, and taupe ... with a dash of pine. Not exactly the colors you'd list for a holiday bouquet.
But I wondered.
Maybe, just maybe, I could pull something together with what remained of my garden beds (a generous term for any and all growth surrounding the house). So I walked down the front steps and around to the left where I found evergreen leaves on the azalea bush.
A good start.
Moving to the back, the deep brown globes that sat at the center of the once-vibrant black-eyed Susan greeted me like festive pom-poms.
The delicate star-tipped sprigs of what remained of the Queen Anne's Lace offered themselves to me before I turned to the arborvitae for a touch of green.
Things were coming together.
Rounding the final corner back toward the front of the house, the burning bush flickered for attention. Its few remaining leaves flaming out in orange, red, and yellow. The final touch.
Extending my right arm to look at what I had gathered, I was so surprised with what I found.
And I suppose that's the lesson.
We may not always have what we want, but if we look, really look, chances are we'll find something. And that something maybe just be even better than we'd imagined.
As I experiment with combining collage and story, I occasionally (who's kidding, I OFTEN) find myself frustrated and ready to give up.
I’m so accustomed to editing my words and designs on the computer where I can hit the delete key or use a combination of keys to undo what I've done. When I work with my hands that's not possible and I am, at times, derailed by a layout or word that doesn’t match what I had in my mind’s eye.
Like running out of space at the bottom of this heron piece.
I wanted to add more but there was no room. Seeing that I wasted so much space at the top I was frustrated and wanted to fix it. But there's no key for that, not when you're working with paper, glue, and ink.
I'd gone too far to start over, so I had to work with what was there.
When that happens, I take a deep breath and know this will pass. When I see it again, long after the fretting is done, I know it will look different.
So I go with it …and all the imperfections. Accepting them as part of the process. And in doing that, I also see things that work.
I recognize that because I stayed with it, I’ve got something to show for my time and effort. A record of an event along with some collage and writing practice, too.
So yes, this heron was chill. The otters were swirling and rolling, diving and chattering and the heron didn’t seem to notice them. Or maybe it did but didn’t want to attract any attention.
So be like the heron.
Stay with your writing and your storytelling. Yes, it can be discouraging. But starting and keeping at it is where you'll make progress. Where you'll see glimmers of where you're going. Where it IS working.
You'll see things you didn't see when you were just thinking about writing. It's in the doing and the writing where you'll make progress. And mistakes. But keep going.
One story at a time.
Our local meteorologist makes visits to local schools ... often very early in the morning.
Last week he made an appearance at one school at 5:30 a.m.(!) and gathered a group of shy, sleepy, hands-in-pockets grammar school students and asked them, "What do you like most about Thanksgiving?"
The first few weren't sure what to say and simply shrugged their shoulders. The next student, one ... who had a minute or two to think, said "family," which was followed by, "all the food."
The next few mimicked the previous answers, but the last kid in line ... the one who had the most time to think, had the best answer, "I like wishing on the wishbone."
I love that he said that, I love how he said it ... and I love the sentiment behind it.
Whether you'll be wishing on a wishbone or giving thanks in some other way, I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.
And as Thanksgiving week gets underway, I want to say ...
I am thankful for you!
It means so much when you write comments, open my emails, and like my posts.
If you're interested in making note of what you're thankful for this Thanksgiving, click on the image above or right here, to download and print the "Today I Am Thankful for ..." sheet. There are two to a sheet so you can print extras for yourself ... and others.
What's your favorite thing about Thanksgiving?
A split decision.
It's National Split Pea Soup Week and all I have to say about pea soup is...try making it from frozen peas.
It's completely different.
For starters, it's a beautiful bright green. And the flavor shifts ... it's lighter somehow.
Two Peas In A Pod
Not in this household ... the frozen pea recipe is not a favorite for everyone. No, there's a split when it comes to this soup. So we rotate. One time we make it from split peas, next time it's from frozen.
With a side of grilled cheese, please.
Ham it up
How do you like your pea soup? Maybe there's no room for discussion because you use a favorite family recipe.
Or maybe, you don't you like it all?
If you do have a family recipe, maybe it's time to capture and share it ... and the story behind it.
The red buckets
tucked in cubbies,
like toys for toddlers,
reeled us in.
Pick a pail,
the sign read.
pick up litter.
So we did.
We netted bits of plastic
a sock, some rope,
a bottle, and a bait bag.
"Here's something," one said.
"There's something," the other said.
And the game was on.
One red bucket.
A mere drop in the ocean ...
or the rising tide
When you're interested in writing a bit about something but not interested in writing a long essay or book(!), try putting your story in the form of a poem.
Narrative poetry allows you to tell your story in verse. Though not always, it's a shorter version of storytelling, and one you might find more inviting, a little less intimidating, or challenging ... at least sometimes.
The Story Line blog is where we share short story memoirs, writing tips, and more.
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