Surviving

Feeling the warmth of the sun on a cloudy day. A glimpse into a blind billy goat's unique, ever changing perspectives.

02 17 17 Anybody Know Why? February 17, 2017

I still like to write, but I ain’t writ much since Christmas. Anybody know why?

I started another semester of school four weeks ago. I didn’t get too excited about it. I usually do. Anybody know why?

I found a chocolate bar in the fridge that I didn’t know was there. This would usually cause me to smile and go, Ooooooo. I didn’t do either of those two things. Anybody know why?

I got one of my favorite sandwiches from Subway this afternoon, which usually tastes really, really good. Today it tasted like rubber chicken. Anybody know why?

If it sounds like I’m a little down, a little depressed, a little sad, a little off track, a little befuddled, a little flustered, a little blue or a little bayou then perhaps I am.

Anybody know why?

I know one thing, and that’s that I have seen my shovel in my hands more times this past week than I can remember for a long, long time. I’m glad I had a shovel to put in my hands, but to tell you the truth; I would have preferred to see it in someone else’s hands.

Do I sound a little agitated, a little frustrated, a little pissed off, a little perplexed? I know one thing. My mind is in a frozen state of white out, and I think I need me some more cow bell.

Anyone know why?

The dryer just made a ding noise, which means that the load of wet laundry is probably all dry, which means that I should open the door of the dryer, put the clothes in a basket, take it out and put it on the kitchen table and put the clothes away.

This is not causing me to feel overly joyous or incredibly uplifted.

Anybody know why?

 

2016 12 22 Christmas Story: From the Top of the World! December 22, 2016

From the Top of the World!

The westward winds had held their calming voice all through the night. The forecast predictions put into motion by the one who knows the weather had come true once again. The night’s path had greeted them all with a friendly helping of updrafts and star filled skies to guide the wind dancers across a dream filled night.

The annual quest had begun oh so many hours ago, but an endless collection from a timeless night found a way to keep pace and ride along side, as the ancient chore came to pass.

Set in motion, the collection of brave dancers rode along side the smiling face of a circled moon until the eastern skies became a portrait of lavender and blue, high above the earth’s morning mist.

With a bellowing call, and a crack from an ancient whip high atop the seasoned night, the skilled team banked effortlessly to the left. Chasing after the stubborn stars to the west, they rode high along the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The bearded one looked to his right towards the north, as the lights of the night gave way to an early Christmas morning, filled with all the magic of a Christmas past.

As a rosy cheeked smile swept across his face, the red suited one stood up, cracked his whip again high into the sky, and with an unmistakable, joyous laugh, proudly looked out over his pulling team. “Ok boys, what say you take us on home!”

The tireless flyers looked towards each other and again, slowly banked to the right, and towards their northern home.

The bearded one, still wearing an unbreakable smile, snapped the reins in his mitted hands, and shouted out, “That’s the way we do it boys! That’s the way!”

Leaving behind a trail of frozen, drifting dust, the ancient sleigh soared across the English Channel, and towards a Christmas Town filled with the faces of waiting anticipation.

With the task of the night falling quickly behind them, 32 devoted hooves dug into the chilly winds of dawn and continued to pull the trailing sleigh back towards the northern pole, nestled deep inside the frozen Arctic skies. As the roof tops of Christmas Town grew closer, the excited team of sky dancers began to loosen their grip on the magical night. From the jingling bells of the ancient sleigh, to the bells high atop the tower of Christmas Town, the song sang out into the Arctic morning for all the world to hear. A quest had been started oh so long ago, and as the rider and team circled their northern home one last time, a collection of proud and smiling faces began to fill the streets near the center of the spirited town.

Standing with a gifted smile, the red suited rider again cracked his whip and shouted out, “Ok boys, let’s bring it on home!”

With a crafted touch, the bearded one slowly pulled back on the reins as the team softly set down along a parting sea of smiling cheers. As the team of eight reindeer slowed and stopped, the red suited pilot of the night carefully folded the reins and set them down along the front of the sleigh.

Overcome with emotion, he removed his worn leather mittens and set them on the seat beside him. As he looked left, then right, his gaze traveled out over the enormous crowd of gathered cheers. Cupping his face in his hands, he wiped away the winds of the night from his beaming hazel eyes.

As the crowd cheered on, the ancient one stood up, removed his weathered red stocking hat, sat it down beside his mitts and reached both hands high into the night. The crowd collectively began to hush as Santa lowered his arms, and spoke.

“Craftsmen of the North! Ancient spirits from this magical place! As a proud and humbled deliverer of your ageless gift, I stand before you once again and sing out, Christmas Day is here!”

A heart stopping roar from the crowd rang high across the Arctic morning, and as the thousands of elfin hats were thrown high into the winter morning, Santa smiled again and slowly started down from the sleigh.

Several of the elves hurried over to help him onto the snow covered street of Christmas Town, and as the collected cheer slowly subsided, Santa began to walk up along side the reindeer team. One by one, he wrapped his arm around the neck and heads of the night dancers, and whispered into their ears. Each time he did this, the reindeer seemed to respond with a morning call of praise for the leader of their team. He worked down the line of reindeer until the slivers of sunlight broke through the Christmas morning with a glow all its own.

As Santa made his way to the left, and away from his team, several elves began to lead the team of reindeer to the right, and into a large stabled building adorned with Christmas decorations, and a hand carved entrance sign that read, “From the Top of the World!”

Climbing a snow covered set of stairs, the bearded one stopped at the top of the steps, turned around and shouted out, “Merry Christmas to one and all!”

Another roar flew into the morning, and again, the bells from high atop the tower began to ring out their Christmas song.

 

2016 12 21 Christmas Interview – Then and Now December 21, 2016

Good evening America, and welcome to this week’s edition of “Then and Now”. I am your host, Holly Snow, and I’m pleased to have you join me tonight, as we take a long overdue look at a man, a very special man, who just might be the most talked about individual on the face of this big, blue marble that we call home…

Before we get started with tonight’s show though, I’d like to extend an extra thanks to one of our amazing Executive Producers, Angel Garland. Without her insight and commitment to her professional craft, tonight’s episode would not be possible.

And now, on with the show.

Tonight it’s my extreme pleasure to bring to you a star among stars, a giver of gifts extraordinaire, a seasonal cup of just enough spice to quench even the biggest thirsts from around the world.

Our center stage guest of honor has been known to go by many names, has been told about in many stories and has found a way to spread a smile to those both young and old, from around the world.

As I said, this amazing guest goes by many names, but perhaps the most famous name that he goes by, in our country, has inspired the countless stories, movies and songs over these past 100 years.

It’s my honor to introduce to you, our very special guest, Santa Claus.

“Why thank you Holly. It’s an honor to be with you.”

Oh my my my, Mr. Claus. The pleasure is indeed all mine. Can I ask you sir if you mind me calling you, Santa?

“Oh heavens no-ho-ho-ho! After all, it is my name, right?”

Why yes it surely is Santa. I must tell you, I’m having a hard time believing that I’m actually sitting here, talking to, you! This, for me, is a dream come true sir.

“Please Holly, call me Santa.”

You’ve got it sir, um, I mean, Santa. Sorry about that.

“Oh don’t you worry a bit now sweetie. I’ll make sure that the boys back at the shop don’t bump you off the, good list. Ho-ho-ho.”

Why thank you Santa. You know, I have a thousand and one questions I’d like to ask you, but my producer is already asking me to possibly move along with the interview, so I guess I’ll work from a list that we had drawn up from the wishes of our own production team.

“Well I guess if you can’t help those that are always helping you, it just doesn’t seem to have that same holiday spirit. Know what I mean Holly?”

Oh Santa, you’re so right. For sure I’d be lost like a pointy eared dentist in a snow bank without the continued support of our amazing crew. From the look on the faces of those in the studio, you are one very popular person. I mean, I’ve never seen Studio 2B so packed before.

“Well, judging from the smiles on the faces, this is one very big, very happy family you have here. I am impressed and honored that you have asked me to join you here tonight.”

Well Santa, it is we who are humbled and honored with your presence here, and with the hand signals I’m getting from my producers, we better get moving on.

“Great! Let’s go kiddo. Ho-ho-ho!:

Ok then Santa. The first question comes from our long time camera man, Donner Seasons. He would like to know, as I’m sure we all would, what is your favorite day of the year?

“Oh my, oh my, ho-ho-ho. You know, I’m fairly sure that I know what a lot of you are thinking right now. I bet a lot of your viewers are shouting at their TV screens, Christmas Eve! Christmas Eve!”

Oh I’m sure you’re right Santa. I mean after all, you are Father Christmas, right?

“Right you are Holly Dear, but surprisingly enough, my favorite day of the year happens to be May 12th.”

Um, May 12th? Ok, we all are wondering why you picked that date sir. I’m sure that a lot of our viewers are scratching their heads, trying to figure this one out.

“Ho-ho-ho. Yes, I imagine so. Truth is, I have many favorite days of the year, but May 12th stands out the most because it’s the day that I met the most beautiful pair of eyes in the world. May 12th is the day I met Mrs. Clause, my special Mama, and after catching a glimpse of those eyes staring straight at me oh so many, many years ago, , well, I’m not sure if everyone believes in love at first sight, but ho-ho-ho oh how it grabbed me like a bag full of wrapped presents.”

“Oh Santa, that’s just such a wonderfully touching story. Tell me though, did Mrs. Claus fall for you in the same fashion as you fell for her?

“Ho-ho-ho! Well I’m sure if you ask her, she might tell you something different, but, one look at that smile of hers, and I knew she felt the same as I did. I mean, how could anyone resist the twinkle in these hazel eyes of mine.”

Ha-ha-ha! I have to tell you Santa, you’re right. There’s just something about those eyes of yours that would melt the heart of the little child inside all of us.

“Oh Holly, that’s mighty sweet of you to say. Ho-ho-ho. I think I’m feeling a little embarrassed. My cheeks must be turning red.”

Why yes they are Santa. Yes, they are the most wonderful shade of red.

“Ho-ho-ho. Up at the North Pole, we call that Rudolph Red.”

Oh that’s precious Santa, absolutely precious. Ok then. Before I get completely spun around with the task at hand, I guess we should move on to question number 2.

“That sounds good Holly. Fire away sweetie.”

This question is from our sound engineer, Mr. Frosty Pane. Dear Santa, if you could receive any gift in the world, what would it be?

Oh ho-ho-ho. Now that’s a question that I haven’t been asked in a whole lotta Christmas Eves.”

Yes Santa. It sure is a good question. One that I’m sure a lot of our audience is wondering as well.

Well Holly, I have to admit that after watching the elves up North, year after year, and being able to see some of the amazing inventions and technological gadgets that they keep coming up with, there still is one particular gift that finds a way to the top of my list, each and every year.”

Santa, I have to tell you, I’m sitting on pins and needles with anticipation of your answer.

“Ho-ho-ho. I bet you are sweetie, I bet you are… You know Holly, as many faces filled with smiles as I get to see each and every year, I’m reminded again and again of just how strong the magic of the season is. Christmas begins in the heart, in the soul, and from there, amazing things begin to happen to those who believe in that magic, in me. All around the world the comfort and joy that Christmas finds a way to bring, well, nothing much can compare. Nothing much, that is, except for one special gift that I can think of, a very special gift that I have the pleasure of receiving each and every year.”

Ok Santa. You have completely grabbed my curiosity. I believe I am joined by all of our viewers when I ask you, Santa, what this gift might be.

“Oh Holly, so many things have graced this old spirit. So many moments of memories, so many baskets full of the simplest things that blend together to make the wonder and imagination come to life. Still though, the most wonderful gift I have ever received is the same gift that I wish to get each and every Christmas. This gift is the wonderment of the night, of Christmas, of a heart full of love being given the same gift that I crave, that I work for, that I have come to know and love with all my heart.

When my gift of flight on Christmas Eve has come to an end, and I am returning to my home up north, I circle around Christmas Town one last time before my team glides into the center of town to touch down. When the sleigh has stopped and I fold my reigns over the front of the sleigh, I take a moment to look around me at the faces surrounding me. I tell you Holly, the sight, well, it takes my breath away each year. The most wonderful gift is seeing the joyful thanks, the proud smiles, the absolute feeling of love from all of the elves, to me, for me, because of the chore that I had the honor to complete. I can’t really put into words how this gift fills my heart, but when I say that the magical feeling is complete, let it be known to hold the truth of Christmas.”

Oh Santa. I am speechless. Completely speechless.

“Ho-ho-ho. I know how you feel my dear. Each and every Christmas, I know exactly how you feel.”

Santa. Dear, dear Santa, I have so much more that I, that we would like to ask you. Are you up for more Dear Santa?

“Oh yes Holly. This is another one of those nights that I hope never ends. Ho-ho-ho.”

As do I Santa. As do I. We’ve got a few more questions to ask our most special guest America. Don’t you go anywhere, as we’ll be right back after a word from our sponsors. I’m Holly Snow, and you’re watching Then and Now.

 

2016 12 20 Poem: There It Is December 20, 2016

As the season of Christmas settles in, one of the most powerful emotions for me tends to also settle in. This emotion is simply pure, and yet it holds the most powerful ingredient of all. I think you all are aware of what I’m talking about, and I hope and wish that you get a good taste of it each and every year. It’s the ingredients of Christmas and family. I suppose you could say that these are two separate ingredients, but put one on top of the other, or if you prefer, side to side, and what happens is hopefully also pure and simply one of the most amazing things you will ever feel. Love.

I have been blessed with a family that has settled in to keep me company through my life. Although some years it seems as though I might have taken them for granted, I will never ever be able to find anything that comes close to their importance to me, my life, my reason for being.

One of the most important single ingredients of my family passed on last year. The rock of my life, my father, moved ahead to the next phase of his journey. The first thing I felt after he passed was sorrow, of course, but then I felt a little twinge of envy. I felt envious of the journey that he had embarked on. My intrigue helped to pick my spirits back up again, and to this day I still wonder what visions awaited him.

I believe in God and the heavens. I believe in the importance that our parents play in our lives. I believe that my father was the strongest person I have ever met. I believe that this Christmas I feel him as strongly as I ever have. I am fortunate to have had his influence in my life, and for that, I am blessed.

The following poem is dedicated to my father, Kenneth Wayne Lyons. I believe that one day we will meet again, and one day I will again be able to look into those eyes of blue.

I would also like to wish you all the best this holiday season. May your spirited souls be illuminated with the lights of a thousand Christmas trees, and may you all find happiness, joy and love throughout 2017.

Dp

***

There It Is

Flipping the pages, the years roll back
Remember the sounds, the smells, the visions of the past
Hardly a day seems to have gone by
Hardly a memory seems out of place

Laughter from years passed fills the room
A smile, a hug, a wink of an eye
Friendly faces rush in to welcome me home
Chairs fill fast as the season settles in

I quickly glance around the room
I search out that comforting smile
I wish to gaze into those eyes of blue
There it is, that smile, oh that unforgettable smile

Memorable Christmas moments sing out through the night
Imaginations of a child can’t help but come true
A house, a family, a dream fulfilled
A lifetime of magic, hand delivered by you

Oh how lucky can a little boy be
Not a day goes by that the little boy doesn’t remember
Not a season goes by when the grown boy doesn’t think of you
Oh how fortunate to be that little boy

I miss you Dad
Merry Christmas

In loving memory
Kenneth Wayne Lyons
November 7, 1934 – October 3, 2015

 

2016 12 18 1987 December 18, 2016

There’s one Christmas that I’ll never forget. It didn’t happen when I was a boy, but rather when I was a man, a father of around27 or so.

At the time, through the course of the year, I tried to figure out what held the interest of my son’s imagination, and as usual for those several years that made up his childhood, it was very apparent that he absolutely loved Legos. I guess it was safe to say that this wasn’t a surprise, because I too was very fond of the little building blocks when I was a young boy.

Good toys know how to withstand the test of time, and this was one gift that couldn’t go wrong.

One afternoon while my wife and I were out shopping, I took a hard right and started wandering through the toy section of the store. I soon found myself smack dab in the middle of Lego heaven. One side of the aisle was completely packed with every kind of Lego package you could imagine. Knights and castles and dinosaurs and airplanes and cars and trucks and oh my, what’s this?

I reached out and pulled a rather large box from the shelf. The picture on the box clutched at my attention and didn’t let go.

“What’s that?” my wife spoke as she moved up along side me.

“What’s this?” I smiled as I spoke back. “Why it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”

I flipped the box around in my arms, trying to take in all of the item that was available. It was a Lego bulldozer, and it contained about a million and a half pieces.

“You getting it for him?” My wife matched my stares towards the box.

I could only think of a one word response to her question. “Yes.”

Needless to say, the box followed us home that evening.

For the next couple weeks leading up to Christmas, I kept pulling the box out of the closet to have another look. The more I looked, the more the present felt like it should be mine, and not my 5 year old son’s. The tug of war had begun, but deep down I knew that as long as it was his gift, I could play with it as much as he did, I mean after all, we lived in the same house, right? The inner workings of an adult mind turned kid.

Well the days wound away, and Christmas inched closer and closer. Come Christmas Eve day, I worked my usual long day, but was transfixed with a spell directly from the North Pole. By the time I returned home that night, the master plan had been firmly planned and all I had to do was set the wheels of the season in motion.

Seven o’clock came, and our son dashed his footy pajamas up over the stairs. Bun, the stuffed rabbit with the long ears, helped my son and I say our prayers, as he usually did.

Fourteen giggles, seven smiles and a couple yawns later, my son closed his eyes to join in on a winter’s night full of dancing dreams. Twelve minutes after that I was standing at the bottom of the stairs waiting and searching for signs that he was fast asleep.

Through the kitchen I ran in a flash, and bound into the living room with a thud and a crash. I scrambled into our bedroom, swung open the closet door, grabbed the Lego box and headed back into the living room.

“You’re not going to wrap that for him?” My wife came into the living room and watched me as I set up a TV tray beside my chair.

“No. I’m gonna put it together for him and set it under the tree.” I cleared a table beside my chair and set the box down onto it. Turning to her, I cocked my head sideways, “What?”

She smiled at me and turned towards the bedroom. “You sure you’re gonna be able to put that all together tonight?”

“Of course I can.” I smugly smiled as I sat down and pulled the TV tray up close to the chair.

The task had begun.

I started in on the bulldozer at seven thirty that Christmas Eve. Let me say that when I mentioned earlier that it had roughly a million and a half pieces, I wasn’t kidding, or so it seemed. Through the evening hours I went from the instructions manual, to the pieces in the box, to the pieces on the tray, to the pieces dancing around in my head, back to the manual. This went on throughout the evening, past midnight, until at roughly 3am the bulldozer was complete. The task was done, and so was I. My brain was fried, my nerves were shot, my hands were shaking and I felt too tired to sleep.

My wife had been fast asleep for a few hours, so I tried to be quiet as a Lego mouse as I crept into the bedroom and slipped under the covers.

I couldn’t get the pieces of blocks out of my head. Single blocks, double blocks, square ones, rectangle ones, pieces with angled tops, pieces with round tops, pieces with no tops, they all came at me, tumbling and spinning through my dreams. The dreams were restless, but they resembled sleep none the less.

“Dad?” Nudge, nudge.

“Daddy?” Shake, nudge.

I rolled over and tried prying my eyes open. “What? Who?” I tried to wake up, but everything was fuzzy and blurry, including my mind.

I could barely make out a smiling face staring at me, point blank.

“Can I get up to see what Santa brought?” He grabbed my shoulder and carefully shook it.

“What time is it?”

There was a pause. “It’s Christmas morning silly. It’s time to get up.”

I rubbed my eyes and looked over at the alarm clock beside me. It was 4:45am.

His mother rolled over to face him. “What time is it?”

Our son stepped back towards the door and shouted. “It’s Christmas Morning Mom! Are you guys gonna get up, or what?”

Fifteen days later I managed to pull myself up from my sleeping slumber, and the three of us made our way into the living room. With a flick of the light switch, the tree lit up and the room burst to life.

“Oh wow!” was all we heard for the next minute or so, as our son made his way around the tree and through the unwrapped gifts that Santa had set around the tree.

My wife and I sat down on the couch as he grabbed one gift, then another, hollering out with each one.

Moving around the tree, he came upon the bulldozer that I had tucked in against a couple wrapped gifts. “Oh man! Cool! Is this for me?”

He tried to pick it up, but it was too bulky for him, so I got up and quickly helped him set it out in the middle of the floor.

“That looks like a bulldozer!” My eyes grew wide as his as I watched him crawl up to the impressive piece of workmanship. “Be careful with it. I’m pretty sure that took Santa’s elves quite a while to build.”

He slowly started rolling it across the floor on its working rubber bulldozer tracks. I smiled and looked over at his mother, who was also smiling.

One of the coolest things about these ingenious building blocks is that as much fun as it is to build stuff, it’s just as much fun to tear them apart. Well, for a kid anyway.

Over the course of Christmas morning, every time I went into the living room, the bulldozer grew smaller and smaller, until it really didn’t resemble a bulldozer , but rather a large pile of mostly yellow blocks.

That was the beginning, and the end of the impressive earth moving device. The pile of yellow blocks did turn into many different things, but never what Santa had left under the tree on that unforgettable Christmas morning of 1987.

Being able to see the expressions of joy on his little face that December 25th morning was one of the best Christmas presents I have ever received. Sometimes the simplest gifts are the ones that find a way to stay with us the longest.

 

2016 12 17 Holiday Essay: A While Ago December 17, 2016

I wrote a poem a while ago. This poem really jumped out and grabbed me by surprise, for it was the first of this kind of writing I had ever attempted. It was a Christmas poem, and now I find myself, all these years later, thinking about it and feeling a little sad that I can’t read it word for word today. As a lot of you know, Christmas poems are some of my favorite poems that I have ever written. There’s just something about them that have a way of enticing the child inside to gather up my things and bring the past ahead to greet my day, today. I suppose that I’m not unlike a lot of other writers who experience these same feelings over the holidays.

The poem was about three wise men that were making their journey towards a star in the sky. They made their way, not knowing why they did, not knowing what was in store for them, and not worrying about anything other than reaching the end of their journey, for it was a special journey indeed. The issues of their day didn’t matter. The barriers, obstacles, opposing points of view didn’t matter to them in the least. All that mattered, all that made sense, all that drove them forward was the thing that none of them could put a finger on, other than knowing that it was the most important ingredient of their day, of any day.

As I wrote this poem, I became part of the story. I walked beside these amazing men on an amazing journey to an amazing place where pure amazement was to take place. I found myself not caring about any of the things in my life that mattered, except the importance of the piece. I didn’t have to think what to write. I didn’t have to think of where the story was going. I didn’t have to think of how the story came to be, or how the story came to me. All I had to do, was write an incredible story that was taking place right before my very eyes.

A short while after writing the poem, it vanished into thin digital air.

I have suffered through my share of moments where I have lost a piece that I have written. Usually it was due to user error, so I never had to worry about blaming anyone but me. Yes, I would cringe, scowl, sulk, raise my voice in anger and tell myself that I will never ever have something so unfortunate happen again, but it has, and it will continue to, for you see, to make mistakes is a human characteristic that brings to light the reason for the gift awaiting those same three wise men.

I love writing no more than when a writing piece takes on a life of its own. I love writing no more than when each time I read a piece, it’s as if someone else wrote it. I love writing no more than when the words explode onto the screen. I love writing no more than when I realize just how much I love to write.

Christmas for me is a time to write. It’s a time to rejoice those feelings I have carried with me from my childhood. It’s a time to reflect on and realize the importance of so many simple things. It’s a time for us all to take a step back and notice all of the things that we should feel grateful for.

I remember a poem from a few years ago that helped me take notice of a special journey that three men made so many years ago. There was a star born in the sky one night that pulled them towards a magical moment born unto a manger. How did they know? How could they know? How wise were they? How much knowledge did they gain from their journey? Do the books really give a fitting description of just how amazing this all was? Was I able to capture the essence of the moment in the words I wrote? Has anyone ever found a way to sufficiently depict the magnificence with their scripted words?

I would give so much to be able to have that poem to read today, but I suppose that I should look at it as an opportunity, an experience that was meant for me.

I lost a poem I wrote a while ago. It remains a special poem to me. I am so very happy and fortunate that through the eyes of the miracle, this poem has found a way to find me once again.

 

2016 12 16 Holiday Poem: The Tipping Stick December 16, 2016

A dozen or so years ago, my family and I went down east Maine over Thanksgiving. My cousin’s family were into the wreath making business back then, and on one November’s morning, my cousin’s husband asked my son and I if we would like to join him to go tipping. This was the task of collecting tips from the branches of fir trees, to use for making wreaths. The trick was to only snap off a short part of the tips, so as to leave the trees in good shape to grow and keep supplying tips for the seasons to come. Upon snapping the tips, you would stuff the tips down onto a long stick until it was filled from top to bottom, approximately six feet tall. The Tipping Stick had a rope tied on one end that was used to secure the tips to the stick. Hauling a couple of these out of the woods was quite a chore, seeing as how the sticks, when filled, could weigh roughly fifty pounds each. .

I didn’t do too well tipping, I mean, I collected the tips fast enough, and filled a tipping stick or two, but I was snapping the tips too long for making really good wreaths. They required those making the wreaths to snap them again to bring them to the correct length.

The line in the poem referring to the Empty Rings is describing the steel rings that are used to make the wreaths. Until the tips were collected and taken to the wreath making shop, the empty rings sat stacked up in a corner, all alone and patiently awaiting the arrival of the fresh tips.

Anyway, a few years ago, we lost the best tipper that down east Maine ever knew, and this poem is dedicated to him.

***

The Tipping Stick

A Poem dedicated to Si

Trudge on, into the wood at daylights first call

The smell of the morning fir awakens the spirit

Daydreams of autumn unfold onto a shimmering dew

Eyes from the trees build with curiosity from above

Daylight’s growing rays scatter through branch and limb

With sticks at hand, and readied, the gathering begins

Through, over, around, into, under and beyond

Snap and pull, twist and push, pack and stack

Pausing to listen, the harmonies of the winds continue their song

Grace from high above settles a comforting hand onto the morn

Footsteps crisp with crackling leaf echo through the rolling wood

One by one, the tipping sticks fill with scent and shape

A white tailed gaze sends a charge through the heart

Tiny, scampering feet bring a warming smile

Morning doves and jays dance their chorus through the fir

Woodpecker and chick a dee tag along with familiar tune

Chilled breeze through the autumn wood bids a welcoming call

White birch lean in as they watch with curiosity

Morning shadows shorten as the day grows tall

Heavied sticks carry with them the magical smells of the season

Empty holiday rings patiently await the scented harvest

Hearty smiles reward and praise the morning’s heavy chore

As the sticks are emptied, the wooded fir sings out again with its beckoning call

A chilled November breeze welcomes the tipping footsteps once again