Small things

How important the small things are!
Time spent with a friend stacking
Stones in the ground while the cool breeze
Gentles the sun’s blazing rays
Reminds me that I’m not alone.
I am part of this world—as the grass,
As a neighbor, as the birds in the sky,
As the leaves of the trees.

How vital are the minutia which
Keep us grounded? Putting away the clothes,
Preparing dinner, taking out the trash,
Feeding the dog…we are carnal creatures,
Living physically, subsisting as all
Organisms do: by making a place
In relation to others; by caring for
One another, by being home.

It is a lie of the ego which insists
“I am destined for some great thing.”
A champion hubris hoping to attain
That which only God may inhabit.
I once told myself I must look beyond small things,
That I would soon “be someone.” That
People would care what I thought
And read what I wrote.
Those days are long gone.
Now I am pleased to enjoy discovering
The wormy grains of rough-cut pallet wood,
Distressed by years of abuse and weather,
Dismissed as disposable resources meant
For moving something valuable from one place
To another. I see myself in the boards, in the rocks,
In the trees and the dishes: a mere thing in this world,
Used up and thrown away by people who know
Little other than their own ambitions to be something
Other than what they are, to treat me as chattel. I have
No more ambition of my own, other than to survive the day,
To come home to my wife, to feel her warm smile,
To sense her steady breathing beside me at night, to bury my
Nose in her honey hair and hold every detail about
Each moment in my mind as long as it will stay
Before fading into that nameless euphoria
Which has no words, only that note of
Visceral contentment felt deep inside:
The distant memory of peace and security
Known only by the innocence of childhood.

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