Friday, November 28, 2014

Comforting Things

Life passages have a way of wrapping cold,
indifferent hands
around the images and illusions
of familiar celebrations,
stealing trraditions
before we fully realized how much
we loved them.
Time is unrelenting in it's
kneading and pushing
the maleable, essential elements of tradition
into unrecognizable shapes.
The perfectly balanced recipe of
and friends
and home
and hearth
become a dish we've never tasted before.
 And sometimes it's bitter.

Isn't that the way it goes, though?
We never know how much we really truly
I mean deeply
loved something
until we lose it.

A loved one.
A family dinner no longer held because
all the members live elsewhere.
A great old sweatshirt, perfectly worn.
A string of lights that we lace onto the tree
for year and years and years until the cord frays.
An old hymn replaced by a contemporary chorus.
A beloved voice silenced.
A tiny person, all grown up.

Narrow pathways through which we squeeze,
guiding us from one time of life
to another.
This is a fine, well-worn flannel shirt
purchased from Sears
many, many, many years ago.
It was boxed, wrapped and tucked under the tree
back in 19-something or other,
waiting for Dad to open on Christmas morning.
Not MY Dad.
My kids Dad.
I gave this shirt to him mucho el lotsa years ago.
He had lots and lots of flannel shirts,
I ended up adopting this one as my own personal favorite
and now it's just plain mine.
It's my comfort shirt.
I take it out of storage every winter and keep it hanging
on a hook next to the drawer with my favorite
squishy winter socks.
When the evening is cold
and I'm home alone
I wear it.
It comforts me.
It's my happy shirt.
One that hugs me back to a sweet time of life
when my kids were little
and life was busy
with a calendar full of
places we had to be.
When I find myself
home alone
spending my holidays in a way I would never have dreamed
might be happy
and fulfilling
and satisfying
in light of my past family-filled gatherings
I wear this shirt
and smile.
Grateful for past celebrations.
Embracing life passages.

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