Give Thanks to the Hands

Celebrate the harvest and the hands...

Celebrate the harvest and the hands…

The meaning of Thanksgiving holiday is to celebrate the harvest of the fat pumpkins, the butternut squash, the purple and red and white potatoes, the carrots and Spanish onions, the sweet and sour apples, the basil and cilantro and kale and chard, and the fattened turkeys, and all the abundance that the land gave us.

We are meant to express gratitude for the season – the scent of crushed leaves underfoot marking nearly another year gone – and for the people that make our lives worth living…

The food on the table beckons. The fat golden turkey, dripping from the oven, the soft mashed potatoes saturated with gravy, the steamed greens and carrots, the roasted onions and sweet potatoes buttered and salted, the stuffing made with apples and cinnamon, and lastly, the pumpkin pie topped with cloudlike cream…

The Thanksgiving meal is an expression of all the garden’s glory spread out on the dining room table. It’s the handicraft of a million some farmers worldwide. It’s the joy and passion. It’s the also sacrifice and suffering. It’s the silent I grew this for you.

Give thanks to the hands that grew your food.

Maybe you’ve shaken those hands before. Maybe they belong to a neighbor, or a local farmer you know by name – the one you see every Saturday at the farmer’s market, the one who has your weekly order of a dozen eggs ready even before you greet them.

Give thanks to their hands. Give thanks to their desire to sell their food local.

Maybe you’ve no idea whose hands, or how many hands, grew your food. Maybe your potatoes were purchased at Superstore, grown on a large-scale farm in Peru, and sprayed by the laborers with chemicals to prevent a bout of potato blight.

Give thanks to their hands. Give thanks to those many hands that handled the pesticides, and the lungs that breathed them in and out.

Maybe you grew or raised the food yourself. Maybe you harvested last month, and they’ve been waiting on the floor of your cellar with a few sprouting in the dark.

Give thanks to your hands. Give thanks for the earth, the rain, the land – and the time that you had to spend nurturing them forth from seed, or egg.

Give thanks to the farmers who grew your food.

Give thanks to their conviction, their ethics, their hard work, and the love of their labor.

Give thanks to their struggle, their exhaustion, and their poverty, too.

Give thanks to the farmers who chose to be farmers. Give thanks to those who did not.

Give thanks to the hands that grew your food.


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