I met a turkey the other day. He walked up the steps alongside me with his dainty dinosaur claws and long stilt legs and then he wobbled along a narrow beam, going somewhere I could not follow. Halfway through, he perched himself atop the metal post, sat and looked out on the world below. He stayed there quietly for an hour, just watching the dusk set in and bring with it a sky peppered with stars.
It was pretty marvelous.
The holidays are a time of joy and merriment and gratitude, an opportunity for us to access the better parts of our nature and bond and bicker with the humans we’ve been lucky enough to be put on this planet with, as much as they may drive us insane. But there’s no reason a beautiful, sensitive, sentient creature needs to be killed (and brutally, at that) for us to be grateful for our lives and each other. I hope this can be a year in which many of us challenge tradition and choose to be thoughtful about what we’re celebrating, to feel the thread of life that connects all of us, and to choose to eat something peaceful to honor the existence we all (humans, turkeys, what have you) have the precious privilege of living.
We are all just touching the mystery of being small, fragile, and temporary. This year, let’s be radical and hold love and compassion at the center of our celebration, rather than a badly-outdated tradition.