GIVING THANKS by Wess Connally

The angle of the sun as November begins
is more severe than in the month before.
Indian Summer is harder to come by,
but it does still come,
its warmth like a comforter
drawn close against the chill in the house
as early darkness falls.

For this warmth, we are thankful.

In November, the leaves are down,
and what was hidden is now revealed:
a neighbor’s chimney, instead of just the smoke;
abandoned nests of birds flown south;
a huge root-ball turned up like the shoeless foot of a giant
who underestimated the force
behind one smooth stone flung by a mere shepherd boy;
the scattered mossy remnants of an old stone wall,
about which an old laureate once explained,
“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
that sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
and spills the upper boulders in the sun”…

For these revelations, we are thankful.

More often than not, in November there is snow,
sometimes arriving in swirling flurries,
sometimes in the sudden drop of a heavy wet foot of it,
other times in only a light dusting that settles overnight
atop the bright red berries of a mountain ash,
leaving an ornament
that in the sun of the morning after is a gift,

For a gift such as this, we are thankful.

As November ages, day by day, its cold sinks deeper.
Long-johns and flannel and down become the rule.
But insulation does not mean isolation.
We are drawn together to break the bread of the annual feast,
and share the stories of a year gone by.
Our words pile up like cord-wood.
We hear of recent hunting trips (one with the son-in-law that very morning).
We hear of a new grandchild in the family,
of a nephew’s freshman-year shenanigans.
We hear of sickness.  We hear of health.
We hear of good fortune and of someone grown poor,
of a painful estrangement and of a prodigal coming home.

For the shared wealth of this fellowship,
we humbly give our thanks, then step away.

Not far in the distance,
Bethlehem.

bethlehem

Blogger’s note:  Wes Connally is the owner of the excellent and eclectic Rangeley, ME shop, “Books, Lines & Thinkers” (purveyor of art and books).   https://www.facebook.com/BooksLinesThinkers

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