Leaving Quyon


Leaving Quyon, an elegy.  An autumnal scene of a rustic shed, tree trunks, a bench and trees with fall colors
The past is another planet.

Forty long years ago, I met a guy and fell. It was one of those holiday things: I was visiting Canada from England, where I was living, and was heading back there in a week or so. He was—is—a choreographer-dancer on a trajectory that would end in brilliant success, awards, esteem. I, on the other hand, was muddling through, though I daresay looking rather pretty with it.

My heart, not for the first or the last time, broke; cracked like porcelain, erupted like Vesuvius, and when our sojourn of sex ended I experienced, not for the first or the last time, the sensation that an essential part of me had been—not lopped off, oh no; more like maimed, and I would henceforth and forever have to drag around this mangled horror while putting on a brave face and pretending I was whole.

At the beginning of October, 2016, we saw each other again, for the first time since 1978. I was then 61. He was, I would like to say, ageless, and I know he would like that, too. I went to visit him in Quyon, about sixty miles outside Ottawa on the Gatineau, Québec side of things.

He had been living in a outwardly ramshackle four-storey beast of a house that, in fact, once you got past the front doors, revealed a mix of modern necessities and even luxuries—under which rubric does a sunken, heart-shaped bathtub fall, I wonder—and that eclectic, eccentric collector’s style that makes a dwelling into a cozy and endlessly fascinating museum of one’s life.

This is where he had held workshops, mentored dancers, acted as a choreographic dramaturge for visiting groups. And his time here was coming to an end: the house sold during the four days I was there. 

The past is another planet. I no longer know either of the young men who inhabited it. When it was time to leave, when he held me and I wept like my heart would break yet again and yet again, I had a dizzying, frantic perception, like a film reel scattering its millions of individual cells, of the arc of time that bound this moment to our first.

Every act contributed: every time I had chosen one street over another, one particular meal, whether or not to skip class, or to hold my tongue or speak my mind, to be friends or enemies or whether to eat toast with jam or drink my coffee black: Like Alice on the recalcitrant road that mocks her plucky determination and flings her back to the present at every attempt to escape, my freedom had been illusory, and I, too, ended up at a destination I could never have foreseen.

This is, I believe, the perception I will have at the moment of my death: Roses touching my fingers when I am an infant, reaching up to a sun burning through summer curtains, my anxious mother’s cheek pressed to mine, all my loves and my cruelties, my grief and my regrets falling away as I step over the boundary

beyond which, for all I know, I may meet her again, meet each and every one of them again, face to beloved face.

֍

all photos © 2019, David Roddis.

Well, thank gawd THAT’s over…

… and now, back to reality.

The natural ruling party of Canada, the Liberals, didn’t exactly ace the election, but, considering Justin’s lapses of taste at costume parties and his penchant for making little Attorney General girls cry, they didn’t do too badly.

Doug Ford still looks like this, though:

The mirthless maniac Muppet-grin.

I don’t want to confuse my international fans. Dug-Up is the Ontario Premier (think governor), and his leadership wasn’t being contested last night; this was a Canada-wide Federal election, not a provincial one.

But he is of the Conservative Party in its most egregiously awful form, and in response to his repressive neoliberal economic policies, his corruption and his general repugnance, and as a statement that we could not allow Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to turn back the clock on our Progressive values, Toronto sent a clear message about Conservatives in general and voted Liberal en masse, sending Dougie a well-deserved smack in the gob, punch in the kisser, slap in the mug, et cetera.

This is, seriously, the political map of Toronto’s ridings as of last night:

Yep. That’s red for Liberal. Every friggin’ seat. I’m sorry I doubted you, fellow Canadians. We head into the future with the New Dems set to hold Trudeau to his promises and continue our push leftward, against the worldwide trend.

You see, Canadians are slow to anger, but we know what makes us unique and essential and we aren’t about to let some skanky Alberta Con destroy that for some pipeline and a few trashed abortion clinics.

Alberta now wants to separate. Sulk much? That’s the way to lose, Western Canada, by picking up your Super Mario handsets and leaving in a huff. Well, no cigar. You won’t get your laughable referendum or your land-locked independent, oil-guzzling, backward dictatorship.

You’ll just have to pull on your long pants, sit at the grown-ups’ table and learn to talk polite. Also, stop mushing your peas together with the mashed potatoes and eating them with a spoon. It ain’t fittin’.

You see, it’s a well-recognized fact that Alberta has been so totally Conservative for so long, they’ve lost the feel for democracy. This was made most obvious during the secretive and anti-democratic regime of that ur-Albertan, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who prorogued Parliament not once but twice, destroyed science-based climate change studies and refused to honor subpoenas from the Commons that requested information on his government’s support for torture.

Harper, who despised the idea of a Canadian identity and ridiculed Canadians’ insistence that our values did not align with those of the US, openly declared, “I get more work done when Parliament isn’t in session.”

In other words, the work of democracy stood in the way of his agenda; he wanted more than anything to turn democracy inside out and to make a government of men, not laws. The parallels to Trump are real and frightening. This is the attitude that the rest of the country, and Trudeau, now must contend with, and there currently aren’t enough corners, dunce caps or time-outs to meet the demand.

I’ll weigh in more after I’ve had a chillaxing foam bath, attended by my election acolytes, many of whom look an awful look like the hunky Pete Buttigieg and some of whom look an awful lot like the luscious Seth Myers— I’ve choked the chicken over Trudeau so many times, it’s become just another old plateful of coq au vin—while sipping a lightly fizzed, boutique brewed, all-Canadian-apple hard cider with just a hint of pamplemousse.

Afterwards, I’ll choose my evening’s entertainment with care to complement my buoyant mood. No, I’m not tending toward the circus spectacle of Mulvaney telling Americans to “get over” the quid pro quo that apparently happens “all the time,” or of Trump trashing the “phony emoluments clause” of the US Constitution, as horribly entertaining as those are. I’m taking a day off from easy targets and obvious pleasures.

I need some depth.

So instead, I’ll prepare a bag of microwave popcorn, add extra salt and butter, settle into my armchair (outfitted with a fully plumped-up hemorrhoid cushion), then, when the priest gets pushed offstage, I’ll pump my fist and scream, “YESSSSSS!”

It’s a good, liberal life.

֍

Federal Election, 2019

there’s nothing a Canadian hates more than success


Canadians have this too-diffident attitude. It’s the attitude of an awkward, polite, but secretly superior adolescent who goes “awww, shucks” when company comes for dinner, then next day draws smutty pictures of the dinner guests on a public toilet’s wall.

If we had more sense of our true place in the world, what we do best, uniquely, we’d be more honest and more humble.That’s how I define humility: knowing your place in the world, what you do well and what needs improving; but never falsely modest or showing unearned self-esteem.

We are, said The Atlantic, the world’s most successful and last remaining progressive society and democracy, openly and unashamedly committed to progressive values.

We are, said Churchill, the linchpin of the English-speaking world.

We are the world’s committed peacekeepers and a sanctuary for the dispossessed.

These are huge accomplishments.We should be proud of them and do more of them and build on them.

So why, then, are we always ready to throw it all out when some tin-pot conservative white male with an agenda offers us a twenty-dollar rebate on our taxes?

(Michael de Adder, in the Toronto Star)

You can never stop fighting for what is right, never.

Democracy is not the norm. Freedom is not guaranteed.

Empathy and compassion and reason and equanimity and compromise are delicate, fleeting conditions. They sound simple enough, but they presuppose an active mindset. Our commitment to justice needs to be continually renewed as our understanding evolves. We need the ability to question ourselves and to admit error, to include those we’ve instinctively excluded, to turn our understanding on its head.

You have to question your prejudices, ignore the memes and the simplistic explanations that blame people rather than systems when the people are poor; and call the systems eternal laws when the people are rich.

This is hard work.

And there is no time off, because the freedoms and values we cherish are a tiny moment in macro history, a little experiment just barely showing its first results and waiting for the next iterations that would grow freedom and dignity further and extend their reach.

And for that reason, it’s an experiment that the powerful want to destroy, destroy even the knowledge that the experiment took place, deny its merit, belittle it, call it childish names.

We’ll see later today how committed we are to being a first-rate Canada, or if we settle once again for being a third-rate U.S.A. I’m off to the polls.

֍

Justin Scandals, Count How Many

skipping rhymes from Gen Z …


…with a nod to the 2019 Canadian Federal Election


I’VE BEEN UNDERCOVER IN MY SAILOR SUIT AND adorable Hudson’s Bay dress shorts (available only in polyester in Québec, due to the current shortage of “pure laine”), chatting about Dr Seuss and reminiscing about The Friendly Giant with unsuspecting school-age Gen Zed-ers as they go about their daily activities.

You remember the drill: Get to school, line up your Venus pencils in careful gradients and start coloring the edges of your maps if you’re a girl, or roll up some paper spitballs and practice farting noises if you’re a boy.

Or, if you’re a gay boy, line up your Venus pencils in careful gradients and watch all the other boys roll spitballs and practice their farting noises before they beat you up after gym class, thus laying the foundation for a truly world-class sexual fetish about a decade later.

Some traditions never change.

My mandate —which I had to give to myself after MacLean’s Magazine was so snarky about the pitch, thanks a bunch, Ms Barbara Lucrezia Borgia Gutenberg Amiel—was to find out how much political savvy these kids had absorbed in this age of 24/7 connectivity, deep fakes, and Hallowe’en nights when your mom and dad insist on driving you door to door so they can keep tabs, mooch your candy and spoil, to the very last iota, the fun of wearing your DIY handsewn Beyoncé costume.

Make no mistake: I was in constant danger of having my cover blown, and there was more than one occasion when I was eyed with suspicion by some chocolate-milk-mustached freckle-faced rascal of a boy, or prim, annoying little girl who’d just had her best party dress splashed with mud by some Grade Eight dude on a Canadian Tire mountain bike.

I tell you, looking authentic while trading prosciutto di Parma and Dijon mustard sliders on artisanal focaccia at lunch break, or fake-crying when it was time for yet another “milk and cookies power-nap,” stretched my humorous-blogger incognito reporting skills, and my already gossamer-thin patience, to the limit and beyond.

But I did net the following cultural gold: Non-traditional skipping rhymes, who knew, and I have to say these kids are the future.

And it’s off I go for another “Ankle-Biter” portion of chicken nuggets and French fries at Pickle Barrel or I’ll start to get cranky around four o’clock, which is typically when my ADHD kicks in.

Now, sit comfortably, close your eyes and travel back to when you and the Internet were young and hopeful together, chalk up the pavement, grab your rope and jump feet first into —

Well, no.

What I mean is—open your eyes so you can read, obviouslythen do all the other, imaginative stuff to do with traveling back in time.

Jeezus. Are you always this high-maintenance?


“OUT IN VICTORIA”

Out in Victoria
Real estate’s a bitch
“Hordes of Asians
Stinking rich

Racist Canadians
Cry, “What cheek!
How many condos
Bought
this week?

One condo
Two condos
Three condos
Four

Mandarin on
A red front door

Five condos
Six condos
Seven condos
Eight

White people want to
Speculate

Cut down trees
And pave the lawn

Now watch Chinese
Tai Chi at dawn!

—Traditional, West Coast.


justin scandals

Justin scandals
Count how many

one for blackface
How embarrassing

TWO for a
Journalist’s
Sexual harassing

three for India
Shoe toes curly
Wearin’ a sari
Lookin’ all girly

{It’s not made up
It’s not made up }

Justin scandals
Count how many

four for Jody
Attorney G
He broke her balls
Over SNC

FIVE for comrade
Castro, Fidel
He eulogized
So we gave him hell

Six is the pipeline
We don’t like
Tell Alberta
To take a hike

Paper Rocks
Scissors Socks

Feminist Faggot
Drama Teacher

Caught in the act
With the son of a preacher

{That’s made up
That’s made up
}

Justin scandals
Count how many

—Ottawa valley, possibly First Nations origins


when will scheer

When will Scheer
Let the news drop

One day, three?
Three weeks, Four?
Six months, a year?

How many abortions
Will he stop?

Rusty coat hanger
Dish soap mild
Jump off the table

And lose that child!

How will Scheer
Let the news drop

Friends of Dorothy
AIDS you’re dead
Three-legged dogs

In a marriage bed!

Will he be swift
Or will he lag

To make it cool
To kill a fag?


We’re now fairly skidding along the reinforced cotton gusset of life, aiming straight for Monday the 21st October, when the citizens of the People’s Republic of Libtardia head to the polls.

Ugh. I get sooooo tense about the “wrong” person getting into power, only made more tense by remembering that Canada has NO TERM LIMITS—that’s right. Andrew Scheer could be crowned PM, serve four years, be reinstated again, and again, and again, until we all died of Scheer tedium, while all the womenfolk were barefoot and pregnant, head to toe in cheerful yet modest calico, baking up huckleberry pies and taking axes to abortion clinics and the menfolk, in full garden gnome facial hair, fracked for oil and studied the prehistoric social code of their choice.

And it’s not just the Conservative Party that gives me what my fantasy step-mom, Dorothy Parker, would have called “the yips.” Yesterday I found out that Jagmeet Singh, NDP leader, has pledged to abolish the Senate if elected, calling it “undemocratic.”

Why do people miss the point about the Senate, every time? Our Senators are appointed, not elected, and now I’m going to do my annoying Socratic bit. Why is it important they are not elected? Correct, because then they have no electorate they are beholden to.

And why is that NOT undemocratic? Because the Senate is the “house of sober second thought.” The Senators—none of them career politicians, but all recommended and appointed as outstanding Canadians who have contributed in significant ways to the community in their respective fields of expertise—give second, non-partisan, readings to legislation, and they have the power to send that legislation back to the House of Commons if they see fit.

Which they did during the reign of terror of Stephen Harper, whose secretiveness and impatience had him trying to bypass even the Commons with his sinister, autocratic agenda. Trust me that the Senate saved us from the worst excesses of that awful, dispiriting regime.

Also, they are allocated proportionally:

The Senate of Canada (FrenchSénat du Canada) is the upper house of the Parliament of Canada, along with the House of Commons and the monarch (represented by the governor general). The Senate is modelled after the British House of Lords and consists of 105 members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister.[1] Seats are assigned on a regional basis: four regions—defined as OntarioQuebec, the Maritime provinces, and the Western provinces—each receives 24 seats, with the last nine seats allocated to the remaining portions of the country: six to Newfoundland and Labrador and one each to the three northern territories. Senators may serve until they reach the age of 75.

Wikipedia contributors. (2019, October 18). Senate of Canada. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:04, October 19, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Senate_of_Canada&oldid=921902174

That’s two very good reasons, life-or-death reasons, not to abolish the Senate. Democracy is not just a numbers game; it is about human rights and ensuring that minorities are afforded the same protections as the majority.

Jagmeet, your Sikh headgear is to me as beautiful as the gold lamé turban Joan Crawford wore while scrubbing the bathroom tiles, it is the official beanie of multiculturalism, but your policy of abolishing the Senate has filled me with doubt about your judgment and made me tense.

And I’m fed up with all the tension, you know? So I’m going to relax about a lot of things this election. I mean, ever since that morning way back in 2016 when I awoke to people on the street screaming, “Holy fuck, Trump!” I’ve discovered that the worst can happen and we don’t implode. Things are, in fact, working as they should, down in the ol’ United States of Meltdownia.

Common sense is waking up from its gee-d out trance, weeping a little bit with the memory of what it got up to when it was high—how it got hate-banged by Mendacity even though it kept murmuring, “Stop!” and “Why would they make up a story like that?” and Mendacity just kept banging away, banging away, until common sense was lying unconscious in a pool of its own body fluids.

Please. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.

The Trump thing has become so bad, even Republicans, die-hard Republicans, like Lindsey Graham, have censured him for withdrawing American troops from North Syria without warning, leaving their Kurdish allies at the mercy of Turkish forces. So even Republicans have come to their senses. They’ve had to.

Well, when I say “come to their senses,” I don’t mean actually come to their senses in the sense of caring about economic inequality, or racism, or women having access to effective birth control or safe abortion, or anyone having any sort of affordable healthcare, or anything that would indicate they had, you know, come to their senses.

They just got interrupted as they were preparing to make themselves look all butch in northern Syria, then remembered that Trump has the current events knowledge of a grade-school student who’s been in a vegetative state for the past eight years and yelled at him for making them look bad in front of the Ukraine.

That kind of coming to your senses.

Anyway, if Scheer is elected, it will be bad, but probably not nearly as bad as down south. And if it’s really bad, we’ll get rid of him. Chillax, Canadians!

I’ve grown tired of acting like everyone who votes for the PC’s is a piece of ignorant trash and their vote doesn’t count, almost that they’re not “real Canadians.”

Andrew Scheer is the legitimate idiot leader of a legitimate asshole irrelevant political party run by old white guys, and if you want to vote for him, you have every right to.

Really! You do!

This is a free country and a democracy and you get to vote for anyone you want. Go ahead! Throw away everything we’ve gained in the past four years, including the envy of most of the world because we are the only remaining unashamedly progressive nation, anywhere!

Go ahead! Make their envious heads shake, just because you can’t stand that Justin is from our most famous political dynasty, that his father was Pierre and he’s already in the history books, whereas Scheer and Jason Kenney and Faith Goldy are just sad losers, blinded by bigotry and incapable of coherent thinking, who will just be footnotes, if that.

You’re pissed off that Justin is getting accolades from the United States, whose butt cheeks now have Scheer-shaped indentations, and you’re extra jealous that Justin is prettier than all of you put together, even in blackface, though we do wish he would cool it with the costume parties.

So there, fellow progressives! What are you scared of? That you’ll have to do a little participating? Protest a bit? Make your voice heard?

Thing is, just between you and me, it goes in cycles, if you haven’t noticed. We’re probably due for a change for the worse, now that the Atlantic Monthly has called us “the most successful progressive government in the world,” now that child poverty is lower than it has ever been, economic growth is up and, well, Trudeau has Canadian values, and kept ninety-five percent of his promises.

So naturally we’ll throw him out and vote in the doltish, aww-shucks, thin-lipped Christian who wants a tax rebate in every pot and a finger in every womb.

He’ll slash the services we want, we’ll go, “Oh my GOODNESS, but I didn’t think you meant THAT!” and we’ll protest and complain and rail against the stupid PC’s that we voted for when we could have continued to be the envy of the world and continued the progress. There’s a concept!

But no. We’ll buy the stupid rhetoric of the old disgruntled white guys, a.k.a. str8-tards, and for some reason we’ll forget that being Prime Minister is not like being the CEO of a company: In fact, it is a public office where you’re supposed to make decisions in the public interest, not for profit. You’re supposed to listen to the people who elected you, but also listen to the people who didn’t elect you, because you’re PM of everyone.

Balance the budget! Of course, but at the expense of…? It’s a fake goal, a chimera. It SOUNDS good, like something you should do. But it’s not the only thing you should do, and it’s ultimately not the purpose of government. Sure, be responsible, be prudent, be transparent…but if that’s the limit of your vision, go be an accountant. What kind of society do you want to grow? What future do you want for the next generation? Will pinching pennies now achieve that future?

Don’t take a rebate cheque for a couple hundred bucks that will evaporate from your hands over the course of a weekend, and lose child care, or reduced waiting times at the hospital, or pharmacare or decent roads, or decent schools. Real long-lasting change for the public good—that is the real purpose of government.

Don’t be short-sighted, Think what you’re doing. And in the end, if you vote for Scheer? All power to you. I’m not the guy who gets to say you’re wrong.

Now, Maxime Bernier, that’s another story. If you vote for Maxime Bernier, you’re a bona fide piece of shit on a stick in a coulis of snot and I despise having even to stand on the same continent as you, lest I accidentally inhale a single molecule of oxygen that could have brushed up against your alveoli, you pathetic white supremacist moron.

Seriously. You have to draw the line somewhere.


Someone in the NDP said something stupid or shitty or wrong in 2012, and I say: “Fiddlesticks and fuddle-duddle! Who gives a flying Tesla!”

The rest of the world gets its fifteen minutes of fame; Canadian party leaders, in the run up to the election, have to have their fifteen minutes of shame. Racist shame, or misogynist shame or sex shame or whatever.

I’m not down with racism or misogyny or abuse, but honestly, Murgatroyd! I don’t think I would exactly come off as St Teresa of Avila were my every word and every act to be examined from my teen years to now.

I think I might have had a few moments, or even months, of shame and I would be apologizing so much my eyes would be bulging out of my head on stalks, like a praying mantis in her startle pose, so grievously involved would my apologizing be.

I would have to scare off reporters from The Sun by opening my moth wings whose markings look like the head of a John Kenneth Galbraith. I can only do that once, right after I emerge from my chrysalis, so I honestly would prefer to save it up for real emergencies.

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh—they’ve all had their moment in the shadow. Can we just agree that everyone says shit sometimes, especially politicians, accept their apologies and move on? Because it’s not about your mistake, it’s how you acknowledge and handle your mistake.

Now, if you’re Trump, you write a letter to the Turkish President that is so bizarre, the White House staff think it’s a spoof.

That is how Trump handles mistakes: by committing an even bigger and more juicy mistake to attempt to draw focus away from the original mistake.

Which, of course, is nonsense. Trump is blithely unaware of having made any mistakes, ever. Even his telephone call to the President of Ukraine was “perfect;” he really has no concept of good and bad, right or wrong. He is entirely without moral direction. If he did it, it’s OK.

Good and evil, right and wrong, just and unjust: These are concepts that have no meaning for a sociopath or even a narcissistic personality, because they require an awareness of how our actions might affect others.

Meaningful work, priorities, duties, happiness, success, even our life’s purpose: Once you start thinking about other people, everything unravels.

֍

Canada, whatever you do:

VOTE

in the Federal Election

MONDAY

October 21st

֍

An Action of Grace: Canadian Thanksgiving

What’s the purpose of Canadian Thanksgiving?

From The Canadian Encyclopedia:

The first Thanksgiving by Europeans in North America was held by Sir Martin Frobisher and his crew in the Eastern Arctic in 1578. They ate a meal of salt beef, biscuits and mushy peas to celebrate and give thanks for their safe arrival in what is now Nunavut. They celebrated Communion and formally expressed their thanks through the ship’s Chaplain, Robert Wolfall, who, according to explorer Richard Collinson, “made unto them a godly sermon, exhorting them especially to be thankefull to God for theyr strange and miraculous deliverance in those so dangerous places [sic].”

Mills, David et al. “Thanksgiving in Canada”. The Canadian Encyclopedia, 05 July 2019, Historica Canada. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/thanksgiving-day. Accessed 13 October 2019.

The article makes it clear that “Thanksgiving” has many meanings above and beyond harvest celebrations and Pilgrim landings. It’s a time to thank—god, or your lucky stars—for health and for survival, for whatever prosperity we have, for family and friends, for peace, for democracy and freedoms—for somehow muddling through this crazy life that is given to us.

In the past year I’ve survived fraudsters, tight finances, more crazy roommates and my sixty-fourth birthday, and somehow I just keep going.

I have good friends, resilience, a sharp mind, the music of Beethoven; memories both tender and terrible, all of which remind me I’ve had, and still have, a fairly extraordinary existence in one of the countries that’s most blessed with wealth and goodwill.

I’m gay, and I won’t be put to death for that. I could marry my partner, if I wanted to, and if I had a partner. I have food to eat, a place to live. I have skills that have directed my life down interesting pathways: Classical pianist; bodywork/zen shiatsu; photography and visual art; and from the time I was able to pick up a crayon and annoy people, writing.

And I’m sixty-four and still look good enough that people don’t run from me, screaming. As long as I have my clothes on.

I spend far too much time complaining, going over old hurts, nursing my wounds, worrying, regretting, and eating Kraft Dinner—

—and how do they get FOUR PORTIONS out of that little box? Torturers! Once I added Brussels sprouts, and though they were thinly shredded, my roommate threatened to call 51 Division on me. I saved my skin by adding some Shopsy’s wieners, cut up and boiled in the same water as the pasta.

I will add that my family were wiener boilers from way back. We didn’t hold with socializing with wiener fryers, who tended to be Catholics and other idolaters from southern Europe and even more reprehensibly “ethnic” folk who tried to do more than contribute some new additions to the McCormick spice line.

If the situation warranted, we’d cross the street to avoid encountering a hot-dog fryer family out for their evening promenade, though it hurt our souls to shun them. But how else to teach them the evil of their ways?

Thanksgiving is a time to recall that much of life is in the attitude we take, simplistic though it sounds.

In Québec, Thanksgiving is celebrated much less than in other provinces of Canada, given the Protestant and Anglo origins of the holiday.

The Québec French translation of Thanksgiving is “Action de grâce.” This is a beautiful rendering, which reminds me that grace means to be given something for no reason. Grace is a gift we don’t deserve, love that we didn’t earn. Grace means to be an infant again, held protectively; to dive off the pier and trust the waves to catch us.

This Thanksgiving, give a thought to the refugees of the world: the homeless, hungry and displaced, who are suffering because of wars, famines and natural disasters.

That we are not refugees is an accident of birth, statistically improbable.

Yet, through grace, here we are.

֍