After Christmas

We hadn’t seen them since the summer solstice. So when they arrived* from California in November, we made up for lost time, celebrating

a birthday,


and, in our short week together,

an early Christmas.

When they returned home, a chunk of my heart went with them.

The afternoon they left, the doldrums landed me at my desk, pencil in hand, scratching “After Christmas” onto a notepad. The poem recently appeared in the winter edition of Awake Our Hearts, an online literary publication “for the female voice exploring faith and life in full.”

A month later, others came to us,* this time from the east coast. Given the cancellation of their March 2020 trip, we hadn’t been together in over a year. Again we celebrated.


New Years.


Wednesday morning they departed—and I found myself with that familiar Ache swirling through the cavern of their absence.

The same pain in those of you long-separated from people who give you reasons to breathe.

For you, I trust these lines will resonate.

After Christmas

your velocity
rises with the drop
in my heart’s barometer.
No windbreaks here, you grow
to a howl in my mown
inner fields—low pressure zones,
short of breath because
those I love have
flown home again,
crossed state lines, and
my arms are empty.

you swirl memory through
this hollowed home like snow,
proffer wintry options to
busy me in this
lonely weather.
You tempt me to numb you until
time can ice their visit,
dessicate our togetherness.

Blow past me, will you?
You and those evasions?
I’ll wait.
For Love will breathe
his holy Zephyr,
inflate the void,
resuscitate me with
positive pressure,
indwelling, warm,
as only He can do.


* masked, quarantined . . .

And IN AN EGGSHELL, here are my posts from elsewhere, earlier this week:


“The waters engulfed me . . .the watery depths closed around me . . .To the roots of the mountains I descended; the earth beneath me barred me in . . .My prayer went up to You . . .

And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”

—Jonah 2: 5-7, 10




“Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come . . .'”

—Isaiah 35:4



Limited visibility.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. “Teacher,” the blind man answered, “I want to see again.”

—Mark 10:51



Wishing you a 2021 with a sturdy perch…and a sunbath between storms.



Thanks for joining me, friends. So glad you’re here.

Watching Nature, Seeing Life: Through His Creation, God Speaks

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Love the outdoors? I can take you there. Rural & wild PNW posts and photos from a naturalist, faith writer, and author of three books, including the award-winning novel Sugar Birds. Member of Redbud Writers Guild.

7 thoughts on “After Christmas

  1. Dear Cheryl, Thanks For Your Thoughts On Your Families Visits, Then The Lost Feelings When They Had To Leave.
    My Heart Is Saddened Too, It’s Been Over A Year, Since Seeing Mine.
    Love To You. Joni

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cheryl, we were traveling when this “After Christmas” post went up, but I read it in wonder and recognition then and just now once again. Whenever our grown children leave, or we leave them, there is a hollowness in my soul that I have only been able to describe to my husband as a “homesick” feeling. I have not heard of others suffering from this malady, though mamas (and papas) who are close to their children must. It took a poet – you -to put into words what I have felt for several decades since the kids grew up. Finally…a kindred sister who understands! I have been taking a short sabbatical from blogging – holy hibernation of sorts – but in my first return post next week I plan to include a link to your poem. If poetry can be seen as a public service, and I believe it must, then you have performed one for this lonely mom who misses her faraway kids. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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