Tiny keyboard bearing the massive reverie of the past—

Tiny keyboard bearing the massive reverie of the past—

Tiny keyboard bearing the massive reverie of the past—
press one button, we’re carried away on a country road,
marching with saints, leaving the Red River Valley...
here is every holiday you hated, every hard time,
each steamy summer wish. You closed your eyes
in the wooden stairwell, leaning your head against the wall,
knowing a bigger world loomed. It’s still out there,
and it’s tucked in this keyboard too,
now we are an organ, now we are an oboe,
now we are young or ancient,
now we are smelling wallpaper in the house
our grandfather sold with every cabinet,
table and doily included,
but we are still adrift, floating,
thrum-full of longing layers of sound.

-Song Book | Naomi Shihab Nye

One of the many quirks of living in a Canadian-American household is that we celebrate Thanksgiving twice, and to be honest, I still haven't quite landed on where my feelings are about Thanksgiving, which I think I've mentioned before. We have our Early October Thanksgiving and our Late November Thanksgiving, both laden with what often feels like performative gratitude, and I struggle to make them feel genuine. In theory, I like the idea: we ought to take opportunities to be thankful to one another, to the earth, to the universe. But I also chafe against the shape it takes.

This year, I've been thinking about our family's lost homes, the places we've lived and our relatives have lived, the places we'll never visit again. In the past few years, most of our grandparents' homes have left the family, and the house where I grew up isn't a place we go anymore, either. We drive by old apartments and marvel at the changes to the neighbourhoods, or past those houses where so many memories took place and wonder about the additions the new owners are building, or the changed landscaping. It's a strange piece of adulthood, this losing.

I've been thinking, too, about the ways certain foods become treasured with exposure: that thing at family dinners that you never wanted to touch as a kid becomes the thing you take a serving of as a young adult until it's so ingrained in your experience of the events that you long for it as you age. This is, I'm convinced, how cultures end up with things like lutefisk, but there are far more innocuous examples, too.

Your To-Do List is a Garden, Not a Battlefield

Your To-Do List is a Garden, Not a Battlefield