Since One Calendar Page Flipped to the Next, I…

10 January, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sitting in Aunt D’s living room
(Dec 2011)

Have witnessed one house fire whose billowing clouds
left the ash-gray taste of loss in the mouths of eleven family members,
three of whom are still clad in crinkly Pampers

Have been embraced,
stared down, yelled at,
invited, welcomed, shared,
sworn at, hit on, cussed out,
fed, prayed over and listened to
in my neighborhood

Have helped, rejoicing with shivers and frosty breath,
to unload a mini-uHaul load’s worth of
canned and bagged goods, clothing and toy donations
into the stark bare spaces begging to be filled at work —
this is
, I say to myself as the paper handles
cut thankful grooves into my cold fingers
during transfer from wheel to shelf,
exactly how the manna spirit of gratitude
must have churned within Moses’ belly

Have counted the stars between silhouetted pine branches
on a chilly north Georgia night,
sprinted between blustery crests of sea-foam
at the Oregon coast,
took cat naps amongst old crumbs,
discarded burger wrappers and suitcase heaps
in Denver, Seattle, Phoenix, Atlanta, Charlotte and
Houston’s blue-seated airport terminals

Have felt the weight of responsibility heavy
and the length of days seeming too short

Have been fed plate after plate of spicy
pollo con mole, arroz y tortillas under the watchful eye
of 6 cousins, one daughter-in-law, one mother and
one abuela before
we all broke into clumsy-footed, laughing-eyed
Cupid Shuffle on their cracked pavement outside

Have experienced an unlawful epidemic of
ants in our food cupboard,
an indefatigable lice outbreak
(until this week, the lice were winning 5-1),
a 48-hour power outage,
crazy flooding in one of Houston’s record-breaking storms,
the loss of a beloved neighbor when she was forced,
cancer-wracked,
to move from her long-time home down the street
to a senior citizen care center
somewhere else (we’ve yet to discover where exactly)
and 3 cases of upper respiratory/sinus infections in my home

Have wondered what happened to things like
long phone conversations with old friends,
staying abreast of email exchanges, mailing packages,
capturing everyday life moments in photographic form,
writing simply for the joy of it, sleeping in,
staying up late, reading fiction, reading at all —
and have found immeasurable delight in
the surprise of new love settling in,
the joy of several engagements,
the Secret Santa gift of Wendell Berry’s writings from a housemate,
the waving fronds of cattails next to graffiti and trash cans at my daily bus stop,
the glad presence of babies yet on their way,
the warmth of conversation in Spanish and English over shared meals,
the twice-a-year experienced reunion with family,
the colors of my quilt at sunrise,
the transformational reality of God incarnate made more real every waking moment

I welcome you, new year; I welcome you, season of
beholding (to hold in view, to see, to discern);
I welcome you and You alike

again, again we come and go,
changed, changing. hands
join, unjoin in love and fear,
grief and joy. the circles turn,
each giving into each, into all.
— wendell berry

Visiting beloved neighbors
(January 2012)

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