The subject line of the email from the cooking website caused my eyes to narrow as it flashed across my inbox yesterday afternoon. “Thanksgiving menu: it’s not too late to start planning!”
Of course it’s not too late, I muttered to myself irritably. It’s not even close to being too late! Thanksgiving is still eight days away.
But in truth, I know it’s also not too early. In fact, I myself should be planning my Thanksgiving menu. And on some level I am. Kind of, In the back of my mind. But not with the zeal I usually plan Thanksgiving.
And when a friend said today that she was already humming Christmas carols and basking in a Christmas mood, I told her I was still in an October mood and working hard to get to a Thanksgiving one. I’m doing everything I can to make time stand still, and yet strangely enough, it’s not working.
I just feel that this autumn is going by too fast. There’s no reason I feel that way this particular year, except that this autumn has allowed me to become so immersed in my writing and the kids’ new school year and some new article ideas and the publication of my book and getting to know the area around my parents’ new vacation home and a host of interests and activities to which fall lends itself. And all of that somehow seems to come to a screeching halt once the holidays approach. New school year? Try Thanksgiving vacation followed three weeks later by winter break, with report cards in between the two to remind you that the year is already exactly one-third over. One-third over? But I’m just getting used to the idea that Tim is in middle school. I don’t want to hear that seventh grade is already looming. I want it to be the first week of school for as long as possible.
But it’s not, of course. It’s seven days ‘til Thanksgiving. I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve done it yearly since 1999 with only one exception. For that matter, I like cooking and menu-planning at any time of year. It’s not the domestic side of the situation that’s causing my agitation this year; it’s simply the chronological part. Winter holidays? Really? But I was so happy watching the leaves change.
It’s inevitable, and fall more than any other season seems to bring out the resistance in many of us to see time pass. So I’ll keep writing, keep finding time to walk in the woods, keep up everything that made this fall such a resonant time for me, and also nudge myself onward to the preliminary steps of holiday planning.
After all, no one says that has to mean six different pies on the Thanksgiving table or hours of Christmas shopping at the mall. Holiday season can mean whatever you want it to mean, including writing, reading and walks in the woods. But regardless of what it may mean to different people, simply as a function of the sun rising and setting, Thanksgiving will soon be here, and I have a menu to plan. Fortunately, as the email I received yesterday assured me, it is indeed not too late.