It seems trite, but I confess that with all that’s happened — and not happened — all that’s been taken away and all that’s been taken on, that I find joy in the fact that the leaves still changed color this year.
I admit I’ve done my best to keep my awe in the oranges and reds and yellows that pop against an autumn sky to myself, lest someone say, “Seriously, Callie? You’re paying attention to the leaves during a pandemic?”
The other day though, I was on a walk with a friend when she asked if it’d be okay if we took a slight detour. “I have to show you something,” she told me.
She took me to a wall of leaves. Not one inch of brick was exposed. It was covered in color. We talked about it being a great spot for a holiday photo, we wondered whether it was ivy we were looking at, but mostly, she and I were quiet, looking up.
I suppose that’s all there is to it. For a moment beauty stopped us.
But then the other night I was sitting around a fire at an outdoor restaurant, and I struck up a conversation with a guy who was standing across from me. I learned he was from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and I told him I’d been there and to Vieques.
“Ahhh, Vieques,” he said, and I heard that beauty — thick with nostalgia and love — in his voice.
My daughter, Harper, has a friend who’s taught her how to rollerblade, and when they finish their school work most afternoons, they meet at a park and skate on the basketball court. “We’re making a rollerblading playlist,” Harper told me one day a bit before she met her friend. “Today we’re going for speed because if I ever want to play hockey, and I do, I have to be fast.”
I saw beauty in a growing friendship, in something learned, in something shared, in a willingness and excitement to try.
I’m grateful for this beauty. These days before Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my friend who suggested a detour, and in turn, reframed my initial statement:
“Seriously, Callie. We’re in a pandemic. Look at the leaves.”
This week, write a poem that highlights the beauty you see — or saw — in 2020. Yes, this has been a treacherous year for many reasons. But what pieces of beauty can you name and share with others?
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s one from Monica Sharman that we enjoyed:
What I Remember
when I was riding on my brother’s handle bars, summer-dark feet
in yellow tsinelas resting on the front wheel’s small bolts,
and my foot slipped and jammed into the spinning spokes
halfway through the two-block ride home from the park
was not the pain (though I remember crying) but my brother
sprinting down Naffa Avenue for help. The worried man
whose strong arms carried me home. Someone’s gentle hands
cleaning long wounds with hydrogen peroxide and Mercurochrome.
to be home.
The carpeted floor.
Browse more poetry prompts
I have been a fan of Callie Feyen’s writing for quite some time but I finished this book in almost one sitting. If you have ever been in 8th grade, fallen in love, had a best friend, or loved reading, you will love this book. As the mother of an 8th grader, my other genuine hope is that my son will one day have a teacher as gifted as Callie.