Photo & Poem: Holiday Place


You had a plan for how this would go when you left home.
Longing for a thing different than how it was. Maybe a
career or a husband. Maybe the perfect sofa because you
wanted to rest, blanket around your feet and a tortoise-shell

cat like the one when you were a kid, lounging on the armrest.
But the cat ran away and you were only renting. For years
friends invited you for holiday meals and you went because
they said it was wrong to be alone but once you arrived, there

was no room for your voice in their family stories, sitting on
a straight-back chair until enough time had passed, that you
could thank the cook for her kindness and go, refusing leftovers,
out to the soft night. Not lost but wandering, one foot in front of

the other, you traveled toward a destination not yet in sight, too
dear to name. Collecting along the way an oak table, quilts made
by other women’s grandmothers, and antique pink wine glasses
that you didn’t save for good. Until you find a strange little house

with a view from every window of something you want to see,
and you are warm inside. Rule out pumpkin pie and make stuffing
with too many apples and nuts, for loved ones with awkward habits
you somehow find endearing. In this place, you cook the turkey.

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm

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37 thoughts on “Photo & Poem: Holiday Place”

  1. I love this; it speaks to my home-loving, crowd-shunning soul. Not into the holidays at all this year; okay by me to just keep living the day-to-day. Probably a little blue if I admit it; watching my best dog fail from arthritis and age, exercising my compromised horse while yearning to add a young partner I can truly dance with, dealing with difficult people that I can’t distance myself from. I’m glad you have your holiday place; thank-you for sharing your gifts with us.

  2. many emotions stirred up to be sure. The sliver of moon, the lone duck, and a view out every window that I like to see. Life as an art form?

  3. Anna,
    As a traveler of the globe, in younger days, I used to offer to work on holidays; they were for families.
    I found my families among friends, in various destinations, and we all had the same lifestyle (flight attendants), so understood each other well.

    Now, I do have a house, a tortoiseshell cat named Freddy Threepwood (who is a terror) on my knee at night and nice views of the woodland. However, so many of us would love to awaken to our horses and say good night to them; boarding away from your home, you can’t enjoy that special bond very often. When the turn-in is complete and the barn manager turns off the lights, you have to leave them in the dark, cold, just munching on hay. I think everyone is this situation must feel as I do, a sadness leaving the barn, even though you have done everything you can do before you leave. They lift their heads — they know what the rattle of car keys means. “Don’t go….”

    We should all never stop dreaming that we will have our horses near; perhaps it’s not an option, a small farm, but perhaps you can find a happy medium — a barn that’s closer, where you can do more self-care, even, with friends you can trust.

    Sometimes I feel that Thanksgiving excludes others. Families are close-knit, and I have been in your situation where I was an outsider, invited, but not always included. And I am a vegetarian, so that excluded turkey. I ate the vegetables, cranberry sauce, did not take second helpings. After the heavy meal (and the effects of the Turkey), it seemed conversation took a dive, so television went on.
    I just wanted to go outside and walk, free in the fresh air with my thoughts.

    I lived in your words for a moment here — a good moment. More than understanding — feeling, remembrance.

    Three of the family members in this family are now gone, and I almost wish I had made more of an effort in my time with them.

    Thoughts on this season.


  4. I think I finally, deeply, understand how you have resonated with me. How you allowed me to believe, in one instant that you never even knew about, that I no longer had to fear my hair’s recurring assertion that it was, in fact, gray. That feeling like a walking apology was no longer necessary. Says who? Says me. Thank you Anna, for walking the path with the confidence that only comes with true self-acceptance. Other women’s grandmothers, indeed.

      • Yes! This is the greatest gift you’ve given me, in the process of finding it for yourself and then sharing it with whoever wanted to open it. I actually think many of the Barnies are misfits (or thought they were) until you came along ? Just speaking for myself, of course!

  5. Your words are making me cry again, Anna…. . The holidays are harder for me this year than usual. Those of us without family , well, it’s just difficult sometimes to navigate around these holidays that are all about family gatherings. I also like all my views these days since there is a good chance there will be a black gelding or two out there. …it’s not a pretty place here but the horses make it a magical one.

    Your poem today captures the essence of much of my 50 years of wandering, moving, seeking my place…. thank you !!

    • I wondered if you were like me in this way. So many of us don’t have a family in the traditional sense. And not to brag, but I barely have indoor plumbing, but oh my, what a view. Best to you, my friend.

  6. Misty eyed this morning…..we’re still wandering in our tin can, easier to escape the well meaning but unwanted invitations. One Christmas years ago when i succumbed to duty, well, it nearly killed me, literally, so I’ve learned that lesson well. I’m a fringe dweller, and happy with that.

  7. Yes. Yes. Yes.

    For years I was numb.
    After the shock of betrayal.
    I grieved a future lost.
    And dreams lost as well.
    Slowly, slowly, I returned.
    And once again felt love.
    For my family.
    They were there for me all along.
    Never a complaint.
    Did they understand I could not feel my feelings?
    Not a chance.
    But I did come back to them.
    For a little while.
    Before they were gone.
    Now I mourn the lost time.
    The precious lost time.
    Wasted on one.
    Who was unworthy.


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