Despite last week’s arrival of Thanksgiving—a great American holiday truly worth celebrating in the company of loved ones, no matter what our nation’s retailers want us to believe—and the anticipation of Christmas, I have felt rather Charlie Brown-ie of late. In fact, about the only I felt thankful for prior to Thanksgiving was that I possess the self-awareness to recognize as nonsense my feeling that I didn’t have much for which to be thankful.
I have (overpriced) shelter and ample, if unstylish, clothing. I have significant food and drink to have developed a paunch. I make enough money to pay bills on time, including all that student loan debt accumulated in the promise of a more financially and personally rewarding job. I have my health … or at least I think I do; I don’t make enough to pay bills and have health care.
Most importantly, like Charlie Brown, I am surrounded by exceptional characters who tolerate my Everything-I-Touch-Turns-Into-A-Disaster phases. I have an amazing partner in crime who has all the best traits of the Peanuts gang (Linus’ wisdom, Schroeder’s talent, Lucy’s barbed tongue) and a pack of Snoopys whose cartoonish antics ensure that life is never boring. These few things alone are worthy of thanks.
I am also thankful that we share life in a place that still allows those inclined to seek the consolations of the forest (which also happens to be the title of a fine book on that very subject by the French writer Sylvain Tesson and which was recently published in English). And so in the dawn chill of this Thanksgiving morning, we set off for the snow-blanketed woods along Colorado’s Front Range. I am never disappointed by nature’s ability to restore perspective.
After the fresh air, a fine meal and a couple glasses (OK, a bottle) of wine, I felt not just thankful, but content. I considered Charlie Brown, an eternal boy asking the big questions, never to realize that many of them aren’t meant to be answered. Of all the metaphorical Charlie Browns in the world, I no longer felt like the Charlie Brown-iest.