Thanksgiving and the Outdoors
Originally posted Thanksgiving, November 25th, 2009…Enjoy!
Thanksgiving in my family is more than the delicious turkey, pies, and cobblers my sister Delane makes; it is also a celebration of food that preserves the memories and experiences of those who have passed on, symbolized through the remaking of family recipes…Cherrie’s dressing, Ella mae’s Pea Salad…the matriarchs of my family pulled greens from their garden for dinner, they plucked the feathers of fresh foul, and cleaned the fish they caught in local lakes for Friday fish fries.
Our family also has gratitude for the new generation and experiences that nod toward the future by introducing new culinary creations, such as the anticipated “newlywed dish” from Christine and Antoine this year, my next-generation cornbread dressing that has become a family favorite, and Uncle Jerry’s deep fried turkey that produces the juiciest, tastiest bird in record time.
With everyone at the table, sometimes for the first time in months, it’s a perfect time to discuss goals for your family in the coming year and also celebrate the accomplishments.
This year at the table, I hope you will join me in having a discussion with your loved ones about ways to get back in touch with the outdoors. I’ll bet someone at the table, especially an elder, can recall circumstances that mirror Cherrie and Ella mae’s, and remind us at a personal level the intimate and sustainable interaction possible with the outdoors. These shared experiences can connect people more than we imagine, so don’t let your eyes glaze over when the elders are speaking…you’ll miss something important, I assure you.
The point is not to create a complicated or overly-ambitious plan for the outdoors, but to figure out what activities feel comfortable for everyone and commit to do something. Perhaps it’s a short family hike over this holiday weekend; planning more picnics, starting a family garden, taking up bird-watching, or perhaps polling to see which child (or adult) still needs to learn to swim, and make it a family goal for everyone to learn how before summer.
If you are an outdoorsy family already, then break out the recent trip photos and recall stories to celebrate your activities, keep the excitement around them alive, and inspire new adventure ideas.
I am profoundly thankful Outdoor Afro is here (and growing) to share the diverse experiences of folks of color doing outdoor activities, while inspiring more people to reconnect with outdoor activities that are not as otherworldly as they sometimes appear.
From my family to yours – Have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!
My very best,