Some people send thank you notes. Others give hugs.
I tell stories or sometimes write poems.
I don’t claim to be much of a poet, but sometimes, having grown up on Green Eggs and Ham, I can’t help myself.
A little Christmas tree stands along the road on my way to work. I don’t know when it started, but the delight in seeing that tree every dark winter morning has always filled me with thankfulness – gratitude for the people who string a long power cord from a dwelling hidden behind the hill to the edge of the road, gratitude to my Heavenly Father for one more day.
Somewhere along the way, I began writing a thank you poem and leaving it under the tree for the owners to find.
Sometimes, in icy January, I wonder if I’ll fall and break a bone trying to climb that little hill to where the tree stands or slide down in my backside to my car parked along the road. Nevertheless, I need to leave my gratuity for the joy that tree gives.
I’ve just finished writing this year’s poem. I have one more to write, and then my journey on the dark highway of 322 will be done.
Here is the 2023 poem and a few from previous years.
Christmas Tree (2019)
You’re still here?
It’s good to see
that Christmas lingers
with my tree,
that colors shine
and hope stands tall
as winter’s grip
begins to thaw.
And now and then
the blackest shade
of morning’s dark
will lift and fade,
and sunshine peaks
beneath the blinds
with Spring and warmth
not far behind.
But even before
the promised light
your merry hues
transcend the night.
The road this year was dark and cold,
With illness, loss, and growing old
Yet ever hope remains and brightness lights the way.
The road this year was never ending,
With busyness and too much spending,
I’m weary from the endless work,
The hopeless soul and road rage jerk
But color peers over the rise,
A welcome to my heartsick eyes
For when the night is at its nightest
Then love and lights display the brightest.
Little Things (2021)
holds me in a bear hug
The savage threat of loss
But beyond the beast
A beacon points
to a better tomorrow
A ray of hope
stands along the path
If I can look beyond the gloom
There is joy in little things
the dancing eyes of laughter
the taste of falling snow
the smell of pine
the giggle of a mischievous child
My friend, the roadside Christmas tree
and the beauty of colored lights
Another unhindered breath
a cold December morn,
no ray of sunlight. I walk alone.
January chills these aching bones.
Nineteen degrees and gnawing wind
Yet there you stand to watch me pass
in your Joseph’s coat waving at me
like only a faithful friend would do.
But I’m too rushed to pause today,
Weighed down by my sorrow
I know I’ll find you there
Long drive to work
On a December morning
Cold and dark –
Knowing what’s at the end –
Pulls me into a gloomy scowl
For a while
Until I round the curve
and edge up the slight grade,
then crest the hill before town
Dazzling lights of red, green, and blue
Painting every inch of the guardian of Newport
A friend that greets me every day (save one?)
From late fall to nearly spring.
The way is brighter, my spirits lighter
Maybe I can face the end of the road
With this smile on my face