Short Days and Long Thoughts

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Mary Anne Zak

Mary Anne Zak

Within November’s first full week, we returned clocks to normal time, we voted, and we observed Veterans Day. We rocketed from summer into winter reluctantly, happily, or thankfully, depending on how glad we were not to reprise the Snowtober Blizzard of 2011.

Short days harvested long thoughts. Local elections, candidates, causes and concerns required focusing on 35 ovals to fill ink on our ballots. Inking in the ovals in turn required concentration. Staying carefully within each figure, we remembered crayoning in the coloring books of childhood.

But lighthearted thoughts turned dark with the inking. Ballot lines of ovals recalled lines of crosses and stars in military cemeteries. Visiting those cemeteries for Veterans Day online or in different parts of the world in the past, we grieved losing Americans who gave their lives to our country. We felt endless gratitude.

Ovals on our ballots recalled other symbols. Deeply moving were mystifyingly delicate bubbles rising years ago from the hulk of the battleship Arizona in Pearl Harbor. Identified as oil surviving WWII, the bubbles seemed eerie yet airy, graceful and peaceful tributes.

Of many different compositions, oil was first discovered as a gift of the olive tree that also offered the olive branch of peace. Olive oil was believed by early Jewish and Christian peoples to be spiritually purifying; they have used it for centuries in religious rituals to anoint and bless. The spheres rising from the Arizona were far removed from peaceful olive oil. But mysteriously, they soothed.

In Suffield we moved from November’s early productive week to Thanksgiving. Pondering the endless variety of experiences called life, we gave thanks for the good and the positive, especially dear family and friends. We thanked veterans who gave our country life and service. We thanked police, firemen, and First Responders who rush to help in the face of danger. We thanked caregivers and waitstaff. We thanked civic leaders, officials and volunteers who serve their country and fellow citizens to the best of their ability and going the extra mile. We counted our blessings! We heard God Bless America sung by people standing and hold a hand to the heart or the forehead and asking for help: “Stand beside us and guide us…”

We look forward to Christmas bringing light with longer days and peace on earth.

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