by Valerie Hess
A tired Christmas season is waning. Early lights and tinsel were not strong enough to withstand wolf winds of grief and loss. Material things crumbled under the weight of isolation. A small tree that had brightened a home now stands disjointedly in a garbage bin - a youth, waiting an ignoble ending instead of living majestically in the forest. The sight roots me to the ground. Sorrow: this feels so wrong! But what can I do to redeem it? In suburbia, trees make trash, not compost. Plastic inflatable decorations lie crumpled on the frozen grass. Empty of enlivening air, they mimic the depression permeating my neighborhood. I ponder a now lifeless display. Devoid of an enlivening spirit myself, I shed tears for the tree, for myself, For a pandemic world. Overhead, stars twinkle joy. I remember a recent conjunction of planets, and a now-distant comet that left stardust in my eyes.
Valerie Hess is a musician, author, poet, retreat speaker, mother, and grandmother. She and her husband currently live in western Montana.