"With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them, too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting of thanks."
—Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address
In the spirit of counting my many blessings, I express my deep gratitude to the Wampanoag and all the sacred caretakers. Enduring near annihilation to persist in continuing to nurture all life, including mine, into being. Only through you could I have existed, able to experience the Earth and her beauty.
The touchable moments, memories so sharp they remain despite the years grief has spent trying to whittle and wear away. The Fox Theater's copper, rose gold, pewter spiked stars and sunbeams and the folks who thought they ought to save it. Thrum of instrument or the light patter of rain, drumming the beat of life going on. Time immemorial and the grand arc of our human story. Transitions with their ethos, housing, Hearth and yummy New Leaf Bakery kitchen. Phonthip Thai's tasty goodness. Ted Lasso, including his biscuits. Steadfast people. Sturdy tire tread during snowy days. Tea and spilling it with friends. Tiffany Harms.
"Humans can accomplish anything" are the literal words and factual feelings I have (actually said) after successfully merging onto the highway when drivers effectively dance in coordination, choreographing an entrance for oncoming traffic. Hands and feeling them in my own or on a shoulder, the hardness of some and the softness of others. Being held. Being hopeful. The Hestons. Learning to ask for and receive help. Humility. The heart. Haikus fill it up, with endless word arrangement, counting syllables. Still holding out for some reconciliation. Heat. A turkey wrap from Huckleberry's pressed warm like a panini.
Andiamo (my favorite Italian word) and the plethora of memories simply saying it conjures. Appetites and mouth burning on a gooey, cheesy pizza fresh from DiNardi's oven, reminding me of growing up in Brooklyn. Anne of Green Gables and the copious tears spent in crying and communing over one dashing Gilbert Blythe. Pure Affection. Ancestors. Laughter, especially when from those type-A law students finally letting go. Adieu, perhaps the most beautiful version of the word goodbye. Alo, ah-oui Ayiti Cherie — land of writer Roxanne Gay, my mistem (the Salish word for father) and the world's first Black republic. Admiration and awe. Astronomy, the study of the up above, gazing at a sk kusnt (star) and the light it projects back some 5,000 years old. The amassing of time as it flies by at warp speed.
NASA. Nerdery. Nose, Emma and her book Baby Speaks Salish. New notebooks. Narratives. Normative visions about how the law should be, not how it is. And Netflix for lazy days. Add in some some nibbles and nom noms, which are better when shared. Good neighbors and The Good Place. Spokane's Native Project, treating folks with the dignity long overdue. "Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failures to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence," a quote from Mapp v. Ohio — words struggling to find a foothold in the present. Now and trying to live in it, grounded in the power of the moment and deep breathing, inhalation only possible because of our multitudinous trees.
Kicking and crunching through Finch Arboretum's skaáy (autumn) leaves, surrounded by brilliant bursts of golden and burgundy branches bobbing out from between mossy evergreens in a picturesque reminder of a moment of Zen. A kiss. Keeping it real. Tiger King's resurrection. King's lasting legacy of Beloved Community. The Kalispel Charitable Foundation's generosity still sustaining our health and welfare. Knee-deep in connection with friend Julie Watts only pausing for a second and some fizzy, cold, old-fashioned, syrupy Roy Rogers brought over by an even sweeter Lucky You Lounge server. Internet sensation Khanbane Lame's tick-tocking ingenuity. In poetry, Rapi Kaur's Milk and Honey. Kremas — a Haitian Christmas drink, Konpa — our dance, and Kreyol — our mother tongue. A kitten, cleaning herself then nestling into the crook of a bent knee with one paw perched atop my bronze skin.
Snuggling in soft blankies, reading in a comfy old T-shirt, while the xiyátnx (sun) splays across my toes on a late-fall afternoon. Sleep and waking sated. Rise and shine. Tap shoes. Scuff. Shuffle. Toe. Heel. Salsa, bachata and merengue, oh my! Seeing behind the mask — a full face only speculated upon from concocted configuration of a cheek, brow and hairline, musing about how close I landed. The sea. A season for all things. Savoring the beauty of the first diamondy frost. Spitfires — women warriors. Swearing in friends as a new judge or the Eastern District's first woman U.S. attorney. Sovereignty, treaty rights and full autonomy soon coming. Spoken words and staying true to your promises. The Salish School of Spokane's Word Book at the library and the thrill of approaching the "Star attraction" shelves (feel free to file this as a cross- reference to previous mention of nerdery). Spending my days with writers from here like Vestal, Francovich, Shields and Walter(s), and there like Silko, Harjo, Erdrich & Orange.
For these and countless other blessings, Limlimtx (thanks). ♦
Inga N. Laurent is a local legal educator and a Fulbright scholar. She is deeply curious about the world and its constructs and delights in uncovering common points of connection that unite our shared but unique human experiences.