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Winter weather suddenly arrived here this week, and with it, a flood (or a flurry, if you will?) of questions:

Where are all my gloves and hats?

Is it time for a new winter jacket?

How are my tires?

And again: Am I ready for this?

And there was another arrival this week – about a dozen evening grosbeaks, eager for food. And they’ve stuck around, too! It’s been awesome to watch them. Every day, about mid morning, they all show up, eat for a while, and then disappear.

The birds are always ready for anything, so long as they have enough to eat.

Ah hell, me too.

Yesterday marks 24 years since my father’s death. That seems impossible to me. I’ve now lived more than half my life without him. That seems impossible to me, too…

…because it is impossible.

Yes, he’s been gone physically – and though I don’t believe, as many do, that I will see him again or that he’s still with me in some metaphysical sense, I do believe – dare I say, know – that he is still right here. In half my genome. In my humor. In both my taste and ability in music. In the values I hold dear. In the mirror.

And my mother is equally still here, too, in those same places. And I thought of her immediately when those grosbeaks arrived. She loved feeding the birds, and in particular enjoyed the many grosbeaks that visited the yard when I was growing up. In my rebellion, I pretended not to notice. It wasn’t until the last couple years that I finally fell in love with the birds, too.

This week, many of us will gather with loved ones to eat too much and shoot the breeze. Every day of the year, every moment of the day, there is so much to be thankful for – family, friends, birds, memories, shelter from the cold, winter tires, home-cooked meals, even grief. Happy Thanksgiving.