Thanksgiving. Years ago, we would go to my grandparents' house in Tacoma, where my father's brother & sister & various of my cousins also lived, to drink, talk, and eat. Being fifteen or so, I was bored much of the time among these people so devoted to the goddess Dullness. Now I realize how little I knew of them. The older generation is gone, their houses sold, the cousins scattered. Some knowledge is not so much learned as accumulated, like tarnish & dust: for example, that everything, even the home that once seemed as enduring as rivers and moons, is transient.
O Lady! we receive but what we give
And in our life alone does Nature live:
Ours is her wedding garment, ours her shroud!
—COLERIDGE, "Dejection: an Ode" (1802) IV,
in Selected Poetry and Prose, ed. Donald A. Stauffer (Modern Library, 1951) 79