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Holiday

Lui Collins

Part 1. Appliances and other distractions

Sometimes the panic of the emptiness
roars
so loud in my ears
I could turn on the radio,
the TV
the vacuum cleaner
the blender
and the cuisinart,
sit at my computer screen
and play banjo
and it would still not drown it out.

I know the answer.
It perches on my shoulder
and laughs at me
as I plunge into yet another diversion.

Part 2. Grace comes when least expected.

The shallow pond above the old dam
is quite frozen over
but the ice is not flat
The path of the icy water
shows clearly
in swirls and humps and dips.
Even where the water falls most steeply
ice inches its way in from the edges
And where the trunk that fell
who knows how long ago
lies wedged between the banks
it is sheathed in ice
and ice hangs in a sheet from it
down to meet the rushing water
still open
at the center of the stream.

I have given myself the gift
of a holy day today.
The forest is unmistakably holy in this moment
as I stand in awe
amidst its silence and
slanty-sunned majesty.
It occurs to me
that the forest is unwaveringly holy
and it is only I
who walks
blinded by the filters
of my day to day semi-consciousness
that I do not duly note
the constant
abundant
wonder
that is ever before my eyes.

But today my eyes are open
and my mind is still
and my heart floods so full
that I wonder that it can hold
such abundance
of gratitude
and joy.

I remember suddenly
that this is the very day I dreaded,
the first Christmas ever in my life
that I would spend alone.

There are days when I cannot meet
my own eyes in the mirror.
Today I have cast aside my dread
walked straightaway into my fear
and wrapped my loving arms around it.
Now I stand, swaying almost imperceptibly
roots thrust deep into the earth
as my reward is showered down upon me
rapture
in full and glorious measure.

Ashfield, MA
December 24-25, 1999