A Gift: Howard Street

15 Dec

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Christmas is coming…the goose is getting fat
Pleased to put a penny in an old man’s hat
If you have no penny, a ha- penny will do
If you have no ha-penny then god bless you.

It’s Saturday, and I am shopping.

But for some reason it is just not working for me. All the shops here have been closed this week, so I know that if I wanted to shop for Christmas it would have to have been yesterday or today.

After spending yesterday in research at the museum, it is today or never.

I usually enjoy shopping. But as I trudge into shop after shop filled with beautiful handmade gifts, jewelry, pottery, paintings, scarves, hats, soaps, wall hangings. . .all on sale, literally I cannot bring myself to buy anything.  Nothing appeals to me and yet again, everything appeals to me. I try to force myself, knowing that I need to show those I love how much they mean to me, how much their continued presence in my life is appreciated. After all, in ten days: it’s Christmas. Ten days.

Want in on a secret? I don’t feel it and I think this year, I may choose not to at all.

This year’s holiday isn’t even registering to me. The closest I have come was my arrival on the ferry Sunday and seeing the village lights in quiet comfort, and then again on my dark walk home from the library last night and the tiny lights of Back Road.

I wander the island, shop after shop, knowing that tomorrow, nothing will be open. I will be leaving on Tuesday. I keep telling myself to look harder, to lose myself in the experience, but I can’t. Nothing seems of appropriate value. Nothing seems to fit. After three hours of meandering, I decide to go home via Howard Street and then it hits me. This year, I will have to show my love in ways that do not involve me making a transaction. I want to show  my appreciation meaningfully. That is so important to me now. It’s as if time is of the essence, as if something important will be lost if I don’t. This ever present urgency has fueled my impatience for months. I struggle with allowing the time to just be.

So as I walked Howard Street, suddenly I see what I most want to give to those whom I love.

The curving path through Howard Street, I want to give to you.

an old sandy path which weaves itself through the veil of two worlds, the living and the dead,

weathered stones of grey and white under a branching aged oak lady, who speaks long and low to my heart.

Lichen laden wooden fences around small yards of sea grass.

Two chairs side by side, my friend, my dear one, where I can place myself in happy times and laugh at life with you at how the world is an azure and green glass globe encircled with light.

Blooms of pink, on bushy branches still yielding a memory of summer gone by, but we can remember.

A feathered bird, colors of the russet rainbow, pulsing with the life of home and basic humanity,

in the chain of our transcendent connectedness, his red crest a signal to the universe saying “I am”.

Small soft dog, so sweet, so vulnerable, so fierce, so in love with a small simple world of yard, and family, and the long day of sleep and eat and play and happiness.

No future, no past, just now.

A clapboard colored bottle blue, that is what I’d share with you,

the joy of blue, thickly coating the wood of cottage in the sun, boards stretching toward a winter sky,

white windowed eyes reflecting back the clouds passing in ocean water breezes.

Pinpoint red berry clusters on branches of green, that say, Joyous night…merry and bright…my friend.

And a fire on the deck, and drink in glass, and a longing for your smile, for your love, for your presence in my life

and a deeply felt need to give within me, offering you these images in thankfulness for your birth, for your connection to my soul.

My friend, you are not here, but you are forever with me and for that I can only give one gift in your honor

my words

the perceiving of my senses

and a view of what is best and bright from this tiny place of solitude and hard won comfort.

Blessings, respect, compassion…and love.

It is my simple gift.

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