A Different Type of Thanksgiving, part 2 by Sara Wright

{Part 1 was posted yesterday. You can see it here}

 Soon after I began to create little traditions that I follow to this day. November is the month I begin to celebrate my love for every evergreen tree on the earth. The leaves of broadleaf trees have become nature’s mulch, yet forest green stays with us until spring, thanks to the conifers. Thanksgiving week is the time I choose to go into the forest to tip balsam boughs  thanking the trees for being, always choosing a mild day when I can enjoy being outdoors. Then I weave fragrant wreaths sitting on my living room floor listening to choral music sung in Latin, a language I don’t understand, thankfully (!) This year my indoor Norfolk Island pines are already lit with rice lights for a few hours each evening lending a festive glow to the soothing cloak of darkness.

 Recently I decided to include a dinner for this week of Wintergreen Tree Celebration and it turned out that the foods I wanted to cook were some of the favorite foods I prepared during those exhausting and meaningless thanksgivings, cooking that I did for others, including my children at my own expense. At first this idea of cooking a feast for myself, (after all the trees couldn’t join me) seemed silly until I recalled how much I loved my own food! I am an excellent cook and I can conjure up just about anything without a recipe.

And this is how I came to create the space for a celebration of all evergreen trees that includes food I love from old thanksgiving dinners. I have transformed thanksgiving! Every year I wait for one of my favorite birds, the partridge, to join me outdoors as s/he feasts on old crabapple berries. This year I have added “Star Baby” to my celebration!

I am no longer without human relatives! I will be talking to my cousin on thanksgiving, sharing memories and stories as well as whatever pictures/videos of the baby that may come my way…Capri Rose, my beloved little cousin was born just a few months ago on my dad’s side of the family, family that my mother made sure we never got to know.

My Star Baby is the youngest of the Pottetti line and I am the oldest. Together we close a circle, just as Billy and I have done.  (I think our two Dads would be very happy about this outcome). My first cousin and I have what is known as Sympatico – he tells me all the time “it’s natural that we should share and do things together because we are family.” He will never know what it’s like to be without loved ones, because his Italian roots privilege family over others – the exact opposite of what my mother did, and my own children continue to do today.

 It’s easy to see in retrospect that my refusal to abandon my father when he died gave my mother another opportunity for revenge that she couldn’t resist. I set it up by challenging her decision not to have any kind of memorial service for her husband. The worst part was that she made sure her grandchildren wouldn’t attend their grandfather’s service.  This either or attitude of hers – choose her/her money, or me and a memorial service, helped split me away from my children/grandchildren on a permanent basis.  

Thirty years later my father’s nephew folded me back into  family. I have no idea when I shall visit my little cousin but she lives in my heart as a beacon of hope for the future, and oh, I love her so. She’s a girl and she’s family too! Billy doesn’t let a day go by without sending me pictures of her laughing, crowing, working hard to roll over, eating her first food, all the things I missed…

This year when I weave my wreaths into the circle we call life I will be thinking of Billy and his family, my Star Baby, and the Pottetti Family Tree – the one with Love and Blessings for all Beings, (human and non human) at its center.


Sara is a naturalist, ethologist (a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Maine.

Author: Sara Wright

I am a writer and naturalist who lives in a little log cabin by a brook with my two dogs and a ring necked dove named Lily B. I write a naturalist column for a local paper and also publish essays, poems and prose in a number of other publications.

5 thoughts on “A Different Type of Thanksgiving, part 2 by Sara Wright”

  1. Oh when you write about your mom I just cringe. My own relationship with my mom was extremely dysfunctional but there was never the abject cruelty you describe. I am so impressed how you have managed to find our own pathways of life with different relatives whether they be tree-based, bird-based or human-based.

    Yum to your cooking! And extra virtual hugs to your little cousin,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know it has taken me a lifetime to wrap my mind around my mother’s abject cruelty – and it’s critical to do that in order to free oneself….I have been fortunate to have had a little brother with whom to discover nature’s wonder… by the time he died it was part of me – and even though it went underground I recovered… Your kind remarks are helpful – the worst thing about witnessing abuse is to stay silent… it makes the person invisible…so thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love how you have created your own celebrations that are meaningful to you. They are absolutely beautiful and just perfect for the season. I’m so glad you have a new life in your family that is bringing you such joy!


  4. I’m so happy for you, Sara. Blessings of the season to you and your family/ies of choice, and that little Star Baby you are so lucky to enjoy. I happened to see her on your blog and she is a cutie! May she and your cousins bring you much joy.


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