Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,
overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way
to get from here to there...
...Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,
and are we not of interest to each other?
-from “I Believe,” Elizabeth Alexander
Friends and Family,
We've certainly missed the cut-off date to call this a Christmas or New Years greeting, but it turns out the most opportune moment for me to pause and consider our lives, our year, our community-at-large occurs in January. And I can hope that after a month of mailboxes full of beautiful faces and messages, maybe this note can be of the most service to you arriving on a bleak mid-winter afternoon. We also joke that perhaps our family photo will find a prime spot on your mantle or fridge now that all the other Christmas cards have found their way into those feel-good baskets and keepsake boxes, or heaven forbid, the recycling bin.
Our year has been good. We're often busier than we want to be, but busy with what we consider to be interesting, worthwhile endeavors. Mae, now 4, began preschool this fall and is thriving in an ideal class-size of only 6 children. She continues to sing and dance through her days, showing an uncanny ability to create obscure rhymes and enjoying anyone who comes across her path. When she sees any child approximately her own age, she'll often declare, “Look, there's one of my best friends!” Olivia, 7, is enjoying 2nd grade, navigating her days with great thought and enjoyment. If you ask her for the highlights of her year, she points to the 5k she ran with a group of friends this fall, her horseback riding and sewing lessons, and any days she was able to spend with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Brett and I continue to enjoy our lives in this mid-Ohio small town. We love where we came from, but we also bask in the way of life this little place nurtures. As those who have become important to us are both close by and scattered far and wide, we cherish the time, notes, shared interests and experiences that keep us close. We celebrate, grieve, and connect with friends and family far away, and we long to be closer to everyone.
Most of you know words, though limited in their ability to fully express our love, are of great significance to us, and we rely heavily on them to keep these connections going. As our relationships with you become older and deeper, the words between us begin to look more like poetry. In another of her poems, entitled “Praise Song for a Day,” Elizabeth Alexander writes,
“We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.”
So thank you for sharing your poetry. Thanks for writing, visiting, calling, thanks even for “tagging,” “liking,” commenting. In all these things, we recognize attempts to shorten the distance between us, and these actions convey to us interest, value, and love. We gratefully receive it and hope we return it well.
Enjoy this day. Love.
Elizabeth, Brett, Olivia, and Mae Wiley