My daughter (with her husband) hosted Thanksgiving yesterday. I added to the table, but it was her day to take, to make her own. I am happy to give it over and enjoyed being a guest. She has recently had her second baby, and even more recently returned to work. I admire her ability to live her life well, and to manage all the details she must manage. Her husband helps of course, but it wasn't always so in the past. This day filled me with memories, of past women’s Thanksgivings and all that they accomplished in order to create this day of thankfulness for food and family. It isn’t easy crafting a feast. In the work days, part of the mind works out the menu, the shopping, the seating. It takes some planning ahead in addition to sneaking in the silver polishing late at night when the babies sleep. I had a wonderful day watching my daughter take care of the day, and counted all my blessings. When we returned home, I wrote this poem for her, and for her daughters.
From the mantle shelf, the book
was chosen lovingly by the mother.
She turned then toward her daughter,
inviting her to sit by the fire
and listen to poems of the seasons,
at this time of cold, snow, ice—of winter.
Soon, the words reminded of a long ago winter
when others sat and marveled over a book,
this book, the only one twas valued, about the seasons.
It told of monthly tasks, that mothers
were to perform as their duty. The fire
blazed, illuminating the face of the daughter.
“Mother, explain this to me,” said the daughter.
“We’ve often sat the long evenings of winter
talking and sewing, telling our stories by the fire.
Why is it that this time you remember that book?”
“Because you are almost a woman,” replied the mother.
“And I was told I would know the right seasons
to guide my life, my family. Those seasons
of growing to young womanhood, my daughter
are what I’ve left to give you as your mother.”
The young woman shivered, for it was full winter.
She averted her eyes from the book,
to watch the embers glow in the fire.
Then in her body raged a new kind of fire
one that would take fuel from all the seasons.
And the things shown pictured in the book
were now asked after in detail by the daughter
because she did know that it was already winter,
and she desired answers from her mother.
“Yes, my dear, I have your answers,” said her mother.
“If you’ll just throw more logs upon the fire
and keep from me the sorrow of winter
I’ll share with you the secrets of the seasons.
First the spring, when you were my little daughter.
See, look here, at pictures in the book.”
They rambled on to winter, last of seasons,
then the mother turned and kissed her lovely daughter,
said goodnight, put out the fire, and closed the book.