I remember the smell of incense,
the swinging censer, the tinkle
of the bells, the feeling of holiness
and expectation at midnight mass.
That year my sister, age seven,
played Mary in the school play,
her long blonde hair falling
down her back, as she fussed
over Baby Jesus, making sure
the blanket covered him.
I had an exciting secret: that year
I painted a room in the basement
and set it up as a playroom for her.
All was expectation and dreams,
back then. Now my pleasures
are quiet ones: the coloured lights,
the thought of traveling
through the mountains
to the farm, how my sister's dog
will get so excited at my return,
how I will visit the horses, in their stalls,
their breath making soft clouds
in the chilly air. Their soft noses will whuff
at me, searching for carrots.
Inside, a warm fire, the aromatic tree
with all the lights, giving the dog
her Christmas toys.
Once a time of anticipation,
it is now a quieter contemplation,
following the familiar rituals
in a topsy-turvy world.
Some of us watch talk shows
where the women are glittery,
talking about Christmas parties
and gifts as if nothing has changed.
The rest of us watch the news: tornadoes,
devastation, reporters shaking their heads:
"We've never seen anything like this before."
The earth, frozen and packed,
following her eternal cycles,
still holds the promise of
life and new growth: seeds
suspended, awaiting the
warmth of spring;
small fur beings huddled
in hidden caverns,
sleeping through the cold.
Mother Earth, resting through
the dark winter, as the season
turns and turns, waiting for
humankind to awaken
from our long sleep.
at earthweal we are contemplating advent poems for earth.