Oh, what can I say, but we're in the heart of it all. Thanksgiving is the one week each year when I get to fully disconnect and enjoy the company of my family -- all thirty of them, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, parents, cousins' children. And all for several days.
Our days go something like this: wake up to the smell of coffee and bacon, eat breakfast with everyone except your brother because he's out birdwatching, pile into the back of the truck and drive down the island to go for a hike, notice an orange tree in the woods and shake it really hard to get that one orange dangling over the road to fall (you won't succeed), stumble upon some interesting animal bones and take a picture to show grandma, eat lunch on the porch, work on your quilt, go play with your cousins' babies, walk out to the end of the dock to see how many fish your new future brother-in-law has caught (several Redfish and a trout, which you will eat for breakfast tomorrow), ask to see your sister's engagement ring again because he has just proposed and her ring is very, very shiny, prepare and eat dinner outside with all your cousins around a long picnic table (fresh crabs, shrimp, corn, sausage, potatoes), stand around the bonfire until dark laughing at that one Instagram photo that your aunt took from a funny angle that makes her daughter-in-law look like she has a beard, walk home with your husband and marvel at the stars, read half a paragraph of your book before you fall asleep, realize at midnight that you are covered in chigger bites, sleep contentedly anyway.
Most Thanksgivings are some variation of this. I always love reconnecting to the physical world, the world of people, family, food, hikes, books, pages. The things that matter most deeply. Taking the time to notice the golden color of the marsh, the smell of the juniper berries and the wax myrtles, getting up at dawn to watch the sun rise out of lumpy clouds on the horizon that look like small mountains, walking along the beach to see what new creatures have washed ashore this season (this year, horseshoe crabs).
I always pick out a book to take with me. I used to read voraciously as a kid, and now I read so much on my phone that I need to remind myself to actually make time for a good book. During Thanksgiving break, I savor those moments before sleep, fighting to stay awake after food and wine and bonfires, propped up on a pillow stealing a few more paragraphs before I go to sleep. This time, I picked up The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, which might not be the best novel of the past few years, but does that thing that good novels do, which is carry you off into some other world for a while, making you wish you could stay there longer.
Looking back on these images, I realize a good vacation can make you wish the same. Every year I come away from Thanksgiving feeling like I've stolen a week in paradise. And I have. I really have. Sharing it here is just one more way of convincing myself I'm not taking it for granted.