I grew up to the sound of particular mantra: "Nothing ever works." Because life is rarely picturesque. It would be nice to believe that our days and nights unfold with the glossy perfection and tastefully arranged casualness of a Southern Living photo spread. On Facebook and Pinterest and blogs, we pretend we live magazine lives: candid shots of practiced laughter, warm light halos pouring over spotless floors, purposeful clutter arranged just so across bright kitchen counters. We want to feel unique, and in doing so, become like every other scrambling idealist searching to bring slick magazine polish to an otherwise ordinary life.
It's okay. I mean, we all do it. But I'm a realist, and it's important to remember, sometimes, that "nothing ever works," and that the holidays, more than any other time, prove this. Farming has taught me not to expect things to go off without a hitch, and, in my family, we're most thankful when we get through situations whole. And we learn to deal with all the minor, daily crises that make life not-so-magazine-worthy.
Because, sometimes, you forget to buy twine and you have to bind the turkey's legs with a zip-tie.
Because, sometimes, you realize you miscalculated something. Because some mornings, there's a headless rabbit sitting in front of your barn and you have so say, "Welp," and fetch the pitchfork so you can chunk him over the fence into the woods. Mud happens, and duct tape happens, and you drop whole bottles of wine on the concrete and watch them shatter in slow motion. Bottoms tear out of full garbage bags and you beat the shit out of your knee on the corner of a piece of furniture. Because the coming of Christmas means untangling extension cords and staying up with TVLand reruns because the potatoes just won't come to a boil.
But when you walk out the front of the barn, and glance up toward the house; when your breath fogs like dragon smoke and you catch the dazzling glitter of garland lights, beckoning with their warm yellow light, your heart swells and all the reality doesn't seem so real anymore. And then it doesn't matter if nothing ever works.
I had a lovely Thanksgiving, and I hope everyone else did too. Just feeling thoughtful this morning, and wanting to clarify that when I say "lovely" I don't ever mean pristine, or perfect, or without fault. And because I think, when we give thanks, it should be a thanks given to the laughter that buoys us in dark times, and to the spark of hope that keeps us reaching for unattainable dreams, and to the way nothing seems to work...and yet we've been given the strength to lace up our boots and tackle every day, every zip-tied turkey, like pros.
I'm thankful for reality. Somebody put that in a magazine.