Grateful Solace

All week the idea of this day has rolled through my mind. Thanksgiving, and what it is that gives us such value toward one day out of the calendar. Despite its origins which do give me pause and help me realize we might be thought somewhat arrogant to an indigenous nation we clearly took advantage for our own benefit. The day nonetheless has become a gathering of family, a day over the years that has the promise of memory and laughs and celebration of an identity we have become together.

I can always remind myself of our family meeting one another in my grandmother’s home in Duluth. She and her husband, Granny and Gramps cherished their family in every extent of the word. I know the dining room table that would fit us all with the children in the next room, sitting on as polished oak they could match with the adults sacred space. To make it one day to the main room, the main serving table of Granny’s wonderful meal was a rite of passage for all including myself.

We were raised in the fashion of an Irish tradition, and anyone who walked into the home on 5th avenue, became another Irish descendant the moment they crossed the threshold. My father alone – Papa – of a Norwegian descent was clearly an Irishman that day, embraced by Nana’s parents like a son – a paramount meaning of love that I have wished I might emulate my entire life. I was lucky, we were all lucky to know unconditional love in every aspect of the word.

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving and we must first acknowledge the state of mind a pandemic has placed upon our ability to celebrate together. No matter the circumstance for some of ‘alone’ and all of its impact, we can still with integrity celebrate the meaning of love. Wherever we stand, however we live our lives in distant or near proximity, only one reality matters – kindness.

We are compassionate souls no matter how much we might choose to fight that attribute in any given paradigm of our own position in life. We have experienced those we do cherish who have passed on to their next journey (God bless) and we will hold a chair for them today because memory alone will always keep them close to our heart. We will recognize those of lesser means who today might have a tear or flood of emotion knowing their isolation and hunger will be overlooked by the many that come before and did once share lives together. I don’t speak of myself in that realm, I am a fortunate man.

Today let’s lift our glass to the beauty of life. Let’s look in one another’s eyes and remember that together we have created these moments for many years well beyond our own mortality. Let us be kind and grateful for all of the people that came before and after who created whom we are today.

Let us love with passionate embrace.


© Thom Amundsen  11/2020

Late In The Morning

It’s really late, it took me this long to decide to try to write my state of mind. We have a holiday fast approaching this week, and society is marooned by this awful Covid 19 virus. We have all made adjustments, trying to understand and convince ourselves that this is temporary. I wonder how my mom and dad might have felt when they both reached 82 and someone turned to them and said, this is only temporary, you have to keep telling yourself that. They both passed within their 82nd year, and temporary to them might have seemed a little ludicrous.

I’m 61 and sort of starting a new life, looking at something that affects us all that is thought to be temporary. Events and lives and needs are getting pushed ahead for months every few evaluative weeks, when once again we all realize we are not safe to go back to a world and lifestyle that we did take for granted. Gone is the typical in many lives as we adjust, as we make good on a promise that we will ride the crest of this wave for as long as it takes.

This is a time when we really do take a moment to recognize what it is we are grateful for. Across the nation throughout the world people have lost their loved ones and in America, there will be an empty chair in many homes, with everyone that remains trying to celebrate that life along with their own, appreciating each other and giving thanks for who we are, what we have become.

This one is different. We are guided by medical staff to stay isolated, to allow yourself to make decisions to keep you and your family safe. I’m a public school teacher, and I chose to stay home this year for a variety of reasons, number one being my health. I am quite healthy but in contrast I have had several surgeries within the last decade that might leave someone wondering about my safety around large numbers of students in my high school. I now sit behind my desk at home, dog laying by my side, and teach those children I would much rather see in the classroom.

Though that’s what I feel there is also the benefit some students are expressing over their ability to focus more at home than in the classroom. There is remarkable truth to that when we think about the amount of distraction young adults could potentially and do experience in a classroom filled to the brim with young adults, teenagers readying themselves to soon step into the world of adulthood.

Tonight these are just my thoughts as I listen to Jackson Browne and his hopeful lyrics and crooning voice in the background. So, maybe I do try to wax poetry in the twilight of my night, but it is what I feel and believe right now. I believe we are all in this together, and that philosophy will never get old even after we get this virus under control.

Our lives all depend upon being able to celebrate life together as one.


© Thom Amundsen 11/2020

Warm Face

The mask we wear,

shadows our lives,

might be removed when close to home

if we can see the eyes of those we love.

Today in our world we gather in peace

in hope tribulations, anxieties, unsettled

reminders of our humanity,

might be left outside in the cold unforgiving air,

while inside our lives become one in memory and story.

We will tell stories,

bring those people back to life,

for they have never left our side, only in that physical sense,

that in this moment, we continue to use to walk around,

to engage,

to make our presence known.

~

We are in love’s grace with our predecessors,

the mom and dad, favorite aunts and funny uncles,

cousin

the sweet memory of childhood dreams never broken

for compassionate arms always held our greatest fears.

~

We are in love today with our futures,

the gleam in eyes, the silly smiles, the elementary accomplishments

moving swift as young adults

help us realize the circle does continue to turn

wisely, all aimed toward that setting sun.

~

Today we feast on the beauty of family, and in the quiet of our

settling lives, we are reminded of certain fortune and peace,

a gathering of energy we hope might spill out into a rather

unassuming confused world beyond our control.

When reliance we do on whatever gratitude means in our minds

good heart and soul will reach for the heavens;

be thankful we are alive to celebrate spiritual agonies and beauty,

be the Grace we learned and pass on and into our hope.

be elegant and just love.

~

Warm faces, lulling laughs, quiet tears,

we all know truth today.

~

© Thom Amundsen 2015

In My Country

We have this tradition

in place

whereby our satisfaction

is the chase;

is built around certain

achievement –

a lifestyle some acclaim

entitlement.

~

When I was a young man

we gathered lives,

in a single room was the plan

celebrating  our tribes.

Well I was told the story any-

way to appease

my gentle mind beyond the many

matters of tease

meant only to satisfy our need

to celebrate each

other in manner one might heed

if asked to somehow teach.

~

Tonight I struggle for forgiveness

not knowing for what

yet full aware own goodness

keeps insanity driven shut

out from our interior, where the rain

of circumstantial

unraveling of the mind is insane.

i look to your world

if when you do cry, do you remain

are you often twirled

on a merry-go-round like a child shy.

~

We will give thanks to our world in tomorrow’s dance

always clueless to that circumstantial evidence.