Thursday, November 23, 2017


Fly Away Snow Goose by Juliet Waldron & John Wisdomkeeper:

Thanksgiving can be tough sometimes, or it can be an utter blast. Some of the most memorable Thanksgivings for me came during the time we were married students, visiting well-heeled relatives of my husband in Gloucester, MA. We became totally irresponsible as soon as we were under the roof of his Aunt and Uncle, all acting like kids again, playing hide and seek in their 30 room Victorian with cousins. Downstairs an epic dinner was being made, and we were off Scot-free if we occasionally passed some time helping in the kitchen, washed/dried dishes, peeled potatoes, sliced apples for pie, or mushrooms and celery for stuffing—whatever weary hand work our elders were sick of. Those times with friends and family were warm, shiny, and are now (in my mind) generally surrounded by a nostalgic golden haze. 

I have come to think of Turkey Day as a kind of late harvest get-together after the crops are mostly in. (Our local exception is the soybeans—now being cut and threshed by giant machinery, producing great clouds of dust, rumbling around the fields.  

When I remember elementary school, I think of an endless series of hand turkeys posted on the cement block walls, of pageants in the auditorium, where they taught us about the first Thanksgiving of the saintly Pilgrims  and their supposed kumbaya moment with the Injuns who had kindly shown them how to survive on these wild shores.

Sadly, all the history I learned later, as I discovered the real scoop on what happened after my ancestors migrated to the “new” world, is some pretty sorry stuff. The acts--some beyond "terrible," that took place during this collision of cultures has taught me plenty of uncomfortable lessons. I’m still learning because privilege can't see itself. Old false narratives require a lot of undoing. 

While writing Fly Away Snow Goose, I learned about the Great Tlicho leader Monfwi. He said that it has become imperative that we learn to “see in two ways” in order for humanity to progress into the future. We must begin to wisely use all the knowledge and skills the people of every nation can bring to the table. The First Nation’s "way" is the wisdom of hunter-gatherers, a way of living with one another and with the earth that we Europeans have been traditionally taught to scorn. 

It seems more than time to deliver on our responsibilities to one another—and to treat the unique biosphere upon which we are ever so privileged to live with respect.

I’ll end with a link to the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Thanksgiving Address to the Natural World, a beautiful and meaningful spiritual thank-you to Mother Nature. I hope you enjoy it.

Happy Thanksgiving .

~~Juliet Waldron


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  1. I like the wisdom of the First People and their respect for the earth.