What Is Essential?

On Thanksgiving Day, a dear friend sent an email greeting containing a link to this short reflection by Parker Palmer that included an amazing poem I’d never heard before, called “The Almanac of Last Things” by Linda Pastan. Kind of a reverse bucket list. The poem’s title alone spoke viscerally to me as  a writing prompt. What is most essential? What is meaningful? These are the questions that beckoned. Sitting in my study relaxing between family gatherings on Thanksgiving, I just had to start writing. I worked on this poem a little bit each day of the holiday weekend and feel moved this morning to share it here.


From the almanac of last things,
I choose coffee with real cream,
In solitude or community,
Warmth that suffuses my body, grounds the day

I choose the sunrise, and the sunset
First, a greeting,
Every day is birthed anew
Then a surrender,
Comes the night with nurturing dark.
Enter rest and be renewed

I choose immersive water,
With salt, with chlorine, with sand
To buoy my body,
Renew my soul

I choose memories
To embrace, not clutch
Touchstones of joy,
Entwined with sorrow.

I choose today
To receive the present moment as gift
To show up for my life
Now, always



This entry was posted in Creation, Prayer and Practices, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What Is Essential?

  1. “To embrace, not clutch” … my grateful “read-back” on your thanksgiving poem.

  2. Ed Hoeffer says:

    Peg, Thank you for the soothing insight of your poem! Ed Hoeffer

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