Beauty is Community

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One of things I like best about Thanksgiving is that it is one of the few days a year people open their homes to friends, family and yes, near strangers.

I’ve spent Thanksgiving in a lot of different places in the twelve years since I left home for college – at friends’ family gatherings in New York, at a farm school community feast, around a wicker table in Malawi, and trying to cook a full sized turkey in a tiny dorm room oven.  In each of these cases, I joined friends of friends of friends, or had similarly loosely connected folks join me. Are there any other days in our calendar when we assume that no one should go cold or hungry or have to spend the day alone? When we are willing to put up with a little awkward conversation in order to ensure that everyone can feel they have something to be thankful about? Could we make a commitment to bring the beauty of this openness, generosity and sharing to other parts of the year?

Yes. And at the same time, I am reminded of how much beauty there is in the communities we hold close. Other bloggers have described a gut-level experience of beauty. For me, that warm glow comes during easy-flowing conversations with old friends, that bone-deep certainty that someone would come through for me in a pinch, collaborating to create a colorful and satisfying meal, and feeling pride in my sisters’ accomplishments.

I wonder how I could “make something beautiful” that expressed this feeling? A photo collage of friends and family? A story about a transformative moment in a relationship? Or can this only be truly expressed in things others make and share with me? A quandary for the long weekend…

-Ariel Brooks

Director of Non Degree Programs

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