It's the early hours of the day after Thanksgiving. All is silent in the house. If I listen, all I hear is the click of the key strokes on my computer, and the muffled hum of the furnace as it works to ward off the cold outside the dark window.
My coffee provides a minor jolt to my sluggish mind, but I enjoy letting myself wander around in the fog of awakening, waiting for my synapses to fully reconnect.
I'm glad I didn't break my habit of rising early, in favor of rolling over to go back to sleep.
In a reflective mood, after celebrating a day to remember blessings and loved ones, a thought begins to take shape.
This same quiet and glow of gratitude for many blessings, is not shared by all. Many people will have set their clocks for the darkest hours of the night, jumped into frigid vehicles, grabbed a coffee on the road and joined the hordes waiting like the barbarians at the gate, for the stores to open!
It's Black Friday!!
The lure of bargains beyond the wildest dreams of coupon users, is powerful and these early birds will flock to them. And like the gaggle of geese descending on the stillness of a pond, the air is electric with their energy and purpose.
How can this be; this metamorphosis from grateful person to greedy shopper?
My guess, and I'm only speculating here, is that we humans are predisposed to gainsaying the system; any system!
We don't particularly like rules that interfere with our choices, movements or actions. If we can pay eighty percent less than the original price tag on an item, we have beat the system intended to part us from our money. If there are twenty pairs of human hands searching through the stacks of sweaters, shirts, scarfs...whatever has a Black Friday Special sign announcing the "steal" of a deal...some shopper will be hooked like bait.
They in turn, in their frenzy of search and acquire, lure other shoppers over to the fantastic bargain and the ritual is endlessly repeated.
There's no holding back the crazed crowds that have sacrificed sleep and some might add sanity, to beat the high prices and the system that sets that bar.
But during the noise and clamor of their frantic bargain hunt, I wonder if they ever remember the reflective moments of the day before. The things we already call ours that had no price tags to begin with and remain unchanged in their value to our lives.
Pawing through the tables and shelves of unheard of bargains, might prove an excellent way to work off the large feast of the day before, but it seems such a shame to cast the jewel of Thanksgiving aside while pocketing the shiny stones scattered like corn for the crows!