Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Writer's Thanksgiving

Peter Leavell is an award winning
historian and novelist.
One hundred and two pilgrims landed at Plymouth in December and promptly starved. Half died as they worked through the winter to erect buildings.

All the children survived. Every one.

As the year 1621 dawned, Native Americans helped catch eels for the starving colonists. Corn thrived in the warm spring. Bean and squash vines grew around the thick stalks. 

Plymouth colonists might survive the next winter.

As harvest time neared, the men, women, and children from England were stunned. 

In England, fall brought in heavy cloud cover and smothered the land with rainy days and warm nights. The leaves along the canals and rivers curled, died, and fell into piles of rotten green and gray. 

But in New England, sunlight drenched the days and the nights grew bitterly cold. The weather was perfect for fall.
Fall, north of Plymouth
Wikicommons

Vast forests erupted in carpets of orange, yellow, and red leaves. Golden fields stood ripe for harvest. Frigid rivers teemed with fish. Pilgrims' minds turned to God with thankfulness.

They sat down to eat.

It wasn’t a party. Nor was it a holiday. More of a tradition—a feast since the food was unimaginably plentiful. But to the Indians, parties happened to be their specialty.

The log cabins, lined with clay, reflected the fires that roasted five deer the Pokanoket brought. Other fires heated stews of meat and vegetables. Pilgrims and Indians alike sat on the ground or on rocks, shoveling food into their mouths with knives.

Sometimes as writers, we go through lean times. We struggle to find the perfect word here, a meaningful thought there. Chances are, we won't survive the manuscript. Some do. Others give up. 

Trust in God that He will bring a harvest. Because we don't write to be famous any more than the Pilgrims dreamed of being household names. We write for survival. And some day, when harvest time is here, we can feast with those we love on the bounties of our work. 

Don't forget to give thanks to God for the bountiful harvest you've already received!

Historical note: President Lincoln, during the Civil War, created the holiday Thanksgiving, where we immortalized the Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock in holiday.

Which would have incensed the Pilgrims. They believed holidays were not of God.

3 comments:

Sally Shupe said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing. Wonderful advice. It's all in God's timing. Thank God for all you've received. Happy Thanksgiving!

Robin Mason said...

what a wonderful comparison—(us) writers to the Pilgrims! and some nuggets about the Pilgrims i didn't know before! thanks for such an apropos post on this Thanksgiving *holiday* Happy Thanksgiving!!

Peter Leavell said...

Thanks, Sally and Robin! Have a blessed Thanksgiving!