Enjoying Christmas…for a few days more

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“There is more to life than increasing its speed” -Ghandi

It has been a busy and exhausting couple of months. Losing a family member suddenly and without warning brings life to a sudden stop. Everyday tasks, schedules, work responsibilities and other commitments come to a grinding halt. You persevere, forge on and take care of what needs to be with the best you can give to such situations. But this is not what this posting is about.  It is about enjoying Christmas for a few days more.

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Christmas was just two short days ago and already I am seeing social media postings about taking down the tree and putting all decorations away. It is no different that seeing the same kind of postings in November only the opposite-who is getting their tree up and putting lights on the outside of homes. My first thought was this: “Why can’t we enjoy Christmas for a few days more?” It all comes to a finality on December 26th. Yes, it is done, over with for another year.  And then I read the quote above by Gandhi and wonder why the rush to take it all down? I do realize that it is necessary due to personal preferences and time constraints. Two years ago, Christmas had to end for us on December 26th as a emergency kitchen floor renovation needed to begin on December 27th. And it was depressing, I will admit to see everything packed up and done for another year.

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You see, I live in a small town nestled against the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I live where the biggest star in the world ( historical fact) shines from the Saturday after Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. It’s light shines for miles in all directions. The Bright Star of Palmer Lake has shone each holiday season for 82 years. (Please see about the Star in the book titled ‘Bright Star of Palmer Lake’ available on Amazon.) It does not shut off on December 26th just because Christmas is over and neither does my Christmas lights.

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Photo by Aaron Jurka, Mountain Tapestry Press, LLC

I want to extend the memories of Christmas for just a few more days. Yes, they will be held in our hearts and minds for years to come. I want the quiet moments of drinking cups of tea and become absorbed into a new book that was a Christmas gift. I have no need or desire to do post-Christmas sales. But this year, it is the moments of memories that were made by family and friends that I do not want to rush away.

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In the closing days of December and all of 2017, quiet reflection and slowing down for a few moments can do wonders. There is time to pack up Christmas and turn to normalcy but I don’t want to hurry it up just because others are doing so. In the poem “Waiting for Christmas”, I believe I convey the quietness of the winter season:

A Walk in Wintered Woods

Almost evening, the winter sunlight fades

through darkened aspen and pine.

The tranquility of two white tailed deer

grazing through snow is interrupted

by the creaking of branches in a brisk,

twenty degree December wind.

The silent flight of a hawk disappears;

only to pop back into my view as it circles

over the mountains blanketed in thick, quilted snow.

There is no path here; the wintered woods

lie ahead in deep shadows.

I stand still listening to this land call out

its life to me; the woodland loner now

warmed with the peaceful wonder of falling snowflakes

upon my Christmas mittens.

Mornings (Will Never Be the Same Again)

Sunrise burns through the early mist,
warming me like a quilt forever shared,
unaware the delicate, weak seams
would eventually fray and split;
letting the cold morning wind inside.

The storm arrives without warning,
fury consumes hurt, suddenly casting
a dark shroud across our blue skies,
over the angry sea, gray like wet slate.
Even at a safe distance, we can no longer protect
our moors from being thrashed upon
by tempestuous surf, uninvited to our private beach.

We do not have the strength and courtesy
to hold on to threadbare ghosts of our years.
Once tender now lies tossed,
heaped in a corner of tattered pain.

Traveling down broken and divided roads,
our backs turned, hearts chilled;
we walk away from mornings that once were,
to mornings that will never be the same again.

Broken Crayons

This poem needs no explanation. It was written almost twenty years ago and has not seen the light of day as it has been kept in my files all this time. It is a relevant one  I feel…just as it was when it was written back in 1998. It is a common story, more common than we want to admit. It is probably one of the saddest and realistic poems I have ever written.  I do not wonder where this “broken crayon” is now.  On any given day in our streets, in a store or at a movie theater, “broken crayons” are everywhere…

Photo by Anna Blake Godbout

Perfect father, paint-brushed mother,
living in a palette of water-colored dreams
diluted by lost expectations, assumed possibilities,
ignore muffled sobs
within the imperfect child they left
to flourish beneath the guise of contentment.

The carefree boy leaves scribbles on a wall
next to the closed kitchen door.
The angry teen leaves muddy footprints
on polished hardwood floors;
resolves to shatter the whitewashed mask,
covering up a proper upbringing.

He shrugs between the spoken and the unsaid,
suppressing reasons why he’s flawed.
Crying in a tunnel of his own fabrication,
he sits cross-legged on shards
of broken crayons.

I Won’t Leave You

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DSCN3834This poem first appeared in Journey On : Beauty and Grit Along the Way published in 2012. It has since undergone revision and will appear in the upcoming poetry collection titled Winter’s Call.

 

 I Won’t Leave You

You and I have many dusty roads still to walk together,

and blood red sunrises we have not seen

sitting side by side on a quiet beach.

There are many seashells

not picked up; memories not yet made.

We know the hope of a radiant summer morning,

and the deep peace of midnight stars.

 

We have laughter to remember, tears to brush away;

taking in the scent of rain on the wind and hay in a far off meadow.

In soft December while the snow falls draping the mountains,

we stroll alongside together, you clasping my hand,

as more colors appear…

leaving none behind.