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November 28, 2019

One from the east coast, one from the west coast–both my kids flew home for Thanksgiving this year. We played games, discussed books, drank wine, and made cornbread dressing. After dinner, with the pie, I read this poem by Eleanor Lerman out loud.


This is what life does. It lets you walk up to
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman
down beside you at the counter who say, Last night,
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you
were born at a good time. Because you were able
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Rohan Maitzen permalink
    November 28, 2019 9:09 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful Thanksgiving – and that’s a wonderful poem, so thank you for sharing it with us!

    • November 29, 2019 9:22 am

      Glad to hear you liked it! I think I’m at the right age to appreciate the lines about appreciating the moment (am I old enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?

  2. November 28, 2019 9:18 pm

    How wonderful to have both your children there for the holiday! It sounds like it was a good one.

  3. November 29, 2019 8:49 am

    I feel like I always say this on your posts Jeanne, but I really enjoyed this, thank you for sharing!

    • November 29, 2019 9:19 am

      As a fellow blogger, you know that it’s really nice when someone who enjoys a post comments to say so!

  4. November 29, 2019 10:55 am

    Thank you for sharing the poem!

  5. November 30, 2019 3:15 pm

    That poem is so beautiful! Thank you.

  6. December 3, 2019 2:36 pm

    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing it. I hope you and the family had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    • December 3, 2019 3:20 pm

      We did. I felt very thankful to have everyone home.

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