Presents or Presence? Listen to the Wind… (An Alternative to Black Friday Horrors) By Kerri McCaffrey

The holidays are upon us–yuck, how cliché!  Recently, I read of  a man in a “Black Friday”  crowd who had a heart attack and shoppers simply stepped over him in order to get to their much desired merchandise.  Then there was the story of a retail store in California on “Black Friday” where a woman pepper sprayed other customers in order to get them away from the item she wanted.  Hmm.  It makes me wonder if all of this shopping is really worth it.  How many of these shoppers left their dinner tables and loved ones in order to wait in long overnight lines to buy an item.  I’ve never done that and I am glad I didn’t do it this year.  I’m not judging or anything, it’s just not for me.

I try to impress upon my two boys what I believe the holidays are all about– presence not presents.  In the world we live in–fast paced, pressure filled, and demanding–are we setting priorities?  And how do we know we have our priorities correctly ordered?  I think we need to listen–listen to something that is good, and right, and greater than ourselves.  Sometimes, I need time alone so that I can know what the right thing to do is–and inevitably, the “right thing” is not about buying something as a present, but about spending time with others–by sharing and lending presence.

This poem was written at the top of a tall ridge above the Ken Lockwood Gorge (in Califon, NJ),  while on a fishing trip there with my brother-in-law, Pete.  So many answers–and so much good–seem to come from simply listening…

Are you giving yourself the chance to listen?  Give yourself the chance to get composed!

“Written in the Wind”

 ©, 2011 by Kerri McCaffrey

The last thing I saw

before my ascent

was an autumn sycamore,

stretched over the river—

and bent like a bow.

And at the ridge’s crest

the woods across the gorge

opened like a box of crayons

placed on pale blue paper—

the yellow one tracing west.

This is where poets go—

a composer’s peak,

the river rolling like applause.

Wooden instruments, fragile strings—

music–written in the wind.

The Ken Lockwood Gorge in Autumn

 Photo–Credit to… http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM7DCX_Ken_Lockwood_Gorge_near_Highbridge_Lebanon_Twp_NJ

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