Quiet Day

Pea soup with scraps of leftover ham bubbled on our stove all day — a weekday more like a Sunday. Walking through town, I met no one.

At the end of the holiday school break, I head out before dinner to empty the compost pail in the bin. Amazingly, the afternoon is light yet, not dim as the afternoons were not long before the holiday. I stand there for a moment, watching wet snowflakes twirl down, the snow and I heedless of any time.

A radiance rises from the snow-covered town cemetery just behind my garden, bright despite the granite stones.

More so than other years, this holiday my daughters and I seemed to have rounded that bend from the divorce. Maybe it’s nothing more than the distance of time and physical space. Maybe it’s simply that time doesn’t cure, but it does scab over. Oddly this season, I kept thinking of Mary Oliver’s line about her box of darkness, and how that, too, was a gift. Maybe that’s part of this whole holiday season, too: that light does, inevitably, come of darkness, always.

Happy wishes for another decade of living: 2020.

Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.

— Mary Oliver

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Cusp

On the eve of another year, my daughters and I talk about that trite tradition — resolutions — and I think of these lines from Rilke:

Whoever you are: some evening take a step
out of your house, which you know so well.
Enormous space is near, your house lies where it begins,
whoever you are…
The world is immense…

Not so long ago, walking outside our house meant wandering down our dirt road and looking for pebbles or newts. While the big world has always been around us, how much mightier the possibilities seem now. And that, I suppose, sums up where we are now.
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