The Arts section of Orient Lodge

Contemplative Snow Shoveling

It is still dark when I rise,
a late winter storm
having dropped
a heavy blanket
of snow
on the driveway.

I normally spend this hour
in contemplation and study
but I know
it will take me
much longer
to clear
the driveway.

The waning gibbous moon
hangs low in the western sky
flanked by two bright stars,
or perhaps
more likely,
by the planets
and Saturn.

I lean on my shovel,
I can feel each muscle
in my body.

Deep breaths.
What is your body telling you?
I feel my heart pounding
within my chest.
It is telling me
to go slowly
to pace myself;
wise advice
for both
the shoveling
and life.

The scape of my shovel
and the scrape
of a distant plow
are joined
by the wind chime
in the post storm

Light of the World

You are the light of the world,
but what sort of light are you?

Are you the campfire
that everyone gathers around
for warmth and companionship,
perhaps to share some sweet food?

Are you the lighthouse
casting a light
for out o’er the sea
warning others
of nearby dangers?

Are you the spotlight
helping others
find something important
or focusing on
an actor on stage?

Are you the lights
at a party or concert
bringing joy
to all who see it?

Are you the flashlight
or candle
after the power has gone out?

Are you moonlight;
a reflection of some greater light?


all you can do
is bring donuts
to those times
when there are no words

Maybe you ask,
“so, how are you doing?”
even though
you know
they aren’t doing
all that well.

It is an invitation
to speak,
to say anything,
no matter how
or profound.

You sit,
but fully present.

You hold
part of a donut
you could make it all better.

You look down at your hands
you could say something
do something,
and slowly
perhaps irreverently
or perhaps not,
the words
take shape
in your mind.

“This is my donut
broken for you.”

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“It wasn’t supposed to happen like this”
he thought as he crawled into his empty bed.
“We were supposed to grow old together.”

It had been like this every night
since his husband died a few months ago.

At first, he was incapacitated by grief
but slowly,
he managed to resume
some of the simple tasks of life.
Over the following weeks
he started relearning
how to live.

The death came
as unexpectedly
as their love;
an inter-racial
same-sex marriage
that broke just about
every taboo.

They had fallen in love
suddenly, impetuously
knowing that they could not live
without each other.

Their friends gathered
at the joining of two lives.

Then, just as suddenly
one half
of their shared life
came to an end
and the remaining half

“It wasn’t supposed to happen like this”

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The Last Full Moon of Winter

We seem to have lost
our connection
with the seasons
and phases of the moon.

we notice a blizzard
that hampers our commute
or a heat wave
that drives us to the shore,
but the equinox?
the solstice?

And maybe,
if it makes the headlines,
we’ll read about
a particular full moon,
but not the one that comes
every month.

This full moon
is the worm moon
as the ground thaws
the earthworms
except here in New England
when the ground is still covered
with snow.

Here, it is the sap moon
when cold nights
and warm days
draw the sugar filled sap
from the roots of maples
and some get tapped
and the sap is boiled
to become syrup.

The Celtic people call it
the moon of winds
and so it’s been
as the wind rattles
the windows
and winds around
the swaying trees.

The Choctaw called it
the moon of the big famine
as the supplies that sustained them
through the long winter months
before the new crops arrive
but we can just run down
to the grocery store
as long as the wind
hasn’t taken down
too many trees.

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