Gratitude is a hunchback

To have a family to be disappointed with is a privilege.  To be frustrated with the dynamics of a roving group is to be living fully.   I have spent far too much time away from these people who share blood with me to ever take it for granted.  Behind the miniature disasters is a deep loyalty and a fire of encouragement and critique.

In years past, Thanksgiving has meant mini-speeches from the people at the table, vocalizing our gratitude.  In other years, it’s meant comparing the inherited goods of a deceased relative to those asked for.  Asked vs. received.  It’s a mixed bag.  But it’s my bag.

I’ve never felt totally latched in, but this is perhaps why I’m drawn to art, to beauty, to new people.  It’s only recently I’ve wondered whether it’s the work in trying to get there that makes love real, instead of the mere clicking into understanding.  I have played tug of war with my own belonging here from the get-go.  The irony is that these are my people, whether they get me or not is irrelevant.  They love me.  And I love them.

The best part of this day was a long walk through Old Fair Oaks across the American River into up towards Hazel, with multiple departure points.  We all ventured to our points of fulfillment.  At the outset, there were 9 of us, and we lost some at the antique stores, some at the bridge, and at some at the spawning spot for the Salmon.  I kept going, and I could have gone longer.  All told, I probably walked six miles.  It wasn’t about the athleticism, but the connective tissue between the walkers.  We beat-boxed together, we imagined ancient cities along this river, we teased each other to no end.  We tried to talk without the pronoun I.

It’s gratitude for this, with which I write.  It’s the sure knowledge that no matter how much I succeed or fail, these people will be mine.  And I will be theirs.


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