by Billy Collins
The thing about the huge platter
of sliced celery, broccoli florets,
and baby tomatoes you had arranged
to look like a turkey with its tail fanned out
was that all our guests were so intimidated
by the perfection of its design
no one dared disturb the symmetry
by removing so much as the nub of a carrot.
And the other thing about all that
was that it took only a few minutes
for the outline of the turkey to disappear
once the guests were encouraged to dig in,
so that no one would have guessed
that this platter of scattered vegetables ever bore
the slightest resemblance to a turkey
or any other two- or four-legged animal.
It reminded me of the sand mandalas
so carefully designed by Tibetan monks
and then just as carefully destroyed
by lines scored across the diameter of the circle,
the variously colored sand then swept
into a pile, and carried, in a vessel
to the nearest moving water and poured in-
a reminder of the impermanence of life and art.
Only, in the case of the vegetable turkey,
such a reminder was never intended.
Or, if it was, I was too busy slicing up
even more vivid lessons in impermanence to notice.
I mean, the real turkey, minus its head
and colorful feathers, and the ham
minus the pig, minus its corkscrew tail and minus the snout
once happily slathered in mud.
by Chris Heeter
For the peace and promise of a sunrise.
The quickening of breath that comes
when we take in the beauty of our surroundings.
For the mystery and humility
of daring to see how we are all connected.
For the opportunity, over and over again,
to choose joy.
For waking up every day to the unknown
and the courage to walk into that day.
For loved ones and the trusted few
for whom we dare to be truly seen.
For the ones we touch and those who touch us
never knowing the grace exchanged.
For teachers and wise companions
who shed light on our path.
For seasons of sun and rain and bountiful harvest.
For the reprieve of winter stillness.
For the wild ones with whom we share this earth
those we see and those we never will.
For the connection beyond words
of beloved fur companions
who purr and bound
and know when to sit upon
or offer soft fur to lean against.
For giving and receiving.
For doors opened and walls broken down
by the simple and spiraling depths of love.
to one another
to the world