What a needed, needed thing: our annual feast with family and friends. Near, far. Old and new.

Hearts and minds release strain and turn grateful, like leaves goldening. We hold hands — not cell phones or newspapers — and pray for peace, good health, good cheer. Then we eat and drink beyond all measure, joying in all that is good.

Must be Thanksgiving.

It’s fun to imagine that first thankful picnic. Out there in the blustery New England cold, they were just strangers, really, sharing food and life, perhaps wary, but grateful to be alive. And surviving together, native and newcomer. Winter was coming, but this fragile friendship and mutual support would see them through.

And still does.