Most men (people) pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it. Sean Kieregaard
Savory: mouth-watering; something savory is full of flavor, delicious and tasty — usually something that has been cooked.
On New Year’s Day, one of my friends mentioned that her word for the year was “rest”. And that got me thinking. What was my word for the year? I knew it immediately. My word was “savor”. I want to savor! I want to savor the foods that I eat, and the friends that I connect with and the ever-changing action in my own backyard. I want to savor the moments, take my foot off the gas pedal every now and then to pause and breathe and say out loud, “That was good. That was a gift.” I’m doing that right now, pausing and breathing and remembering how fun it was last week to celebrate Epiphany with my writing group, beloved women I have known and written with for years. It has become a tradition to gather at Christine and Jon’s house on a day near the Epiphany, to share a meal of pasta with pesto and salad with Christine’s special dressing and a cake, usually chocolate, and dark and rich and baked by Genean. It has become a tradition to feast on the foods and the stories from our holidays, to write for a while, and then, as the afternoon light begins to dwindle, to bring out the candles, one for each of us, and to walk from door to door around this European-syle home singing “We three kings . . .” as best we can and changing the chalk numeral written across the top of the doorway to this new year in a tradition blessing the house that Christine has brought over from Europe and we all have embraced.
It feels good to push the save button, to bring that Epiphany afternoon more deeply into my bones in this present moment now a week later. It feels good to remember how good it felt at Christine’s when we claimed thirty minutes, thirty spacious minutes, thirty savory minutes, for our writing practice. I always traipse up the wooden stairs to the cozy office with the red couch and the wall of bookcases and the Tibetan art and the photos of family and friends and the treasures carefully-placed throughout. I always sprawl out on the couch with my journal on my lap and my pen in my hand and a willingness to just let it rip, to let whatever wants to flow from my heart and my head to make its way onto the page. And that’s what I did last week. I savored the time in the red room, the time with pen in hand, savored what I wrote in its savory roughness about other recent savory times. And so, here they are, my savory rough poems, written with a happy heart and a desire on that Epiphany day to relax and breathe and appreciate what the moments have to offer:
Winter Moon Poem
I want to tell you that you can hear happiness
that in the middle of the night
you can hear the moon singing when you wake up to pee
that you can hear the moon’s shadows spread across snow
as you look out the window.
They sound gentle, soft, coo to you
as you gaze down at the backyard feeder
as you hear the quiet
and the dark shadows of something
moving in the snow.
Is it a bunny, you wonder
or something larger
a racoon perhaps
and now your husband has waked up too
and you both are watching the song in the silence
and it is not a raccoon song at all.
It is a fox song stretching out long in a swishing tail.
It is a song of two foxes
leaping and creeping across the full moon snow
and it doesn’t matter
if your daytime hearing isn’t what it used to be
the nighttime song your heart is hearing
is in tip-top shape.
Christmas in Idaho
I want to tell you about Christmas in Idaho
about the crispness in the air
the clumps of wet snow that fell on Christmas Eve
that Christmas Day was my favorite ever
that my cousin in Maine took it upon herself to knit
stockings for the two daughter-in-laws and for two-and-a-half-year-old Viren
stockings knit from our Grammie Emma’s pattern
the same pattern my mother used when she knit stockings
for her kids’ spouses and her grandkids
and Diana added bells and she stuffed treasures in Viren’s stocking
a small wooden heart-shaped box and she tucked
in the box a tiny cedar heart and a tiny wooden comb
with a panda carved on its spine —
and there were other things too,in this hand-knit stocking
a rubber ducky wearing goggles and snorkel, a stuffed giraffe
and I want to tell you that the front-end loader and the cement mixer from Santa
the garbage truck from Grandma and Grandpa Cam were hits
but that little wooden box with its little wooden comb and its little cedar heart
was the biggest hit of all
and Viren carried his little wooden heart from room to room
placed it on the seat of the front-end loader, plopped it in the back
of the garbage truck with the recyclables, pressed it close to his chest
and to us all he said out loud on Christmas Day
“My little heart smiles.”