With only one week to go until Christmas, we may find ourselves caught up in the final stretch of last-minute preparations. For me that includes some version of the Advent carol People Look East: “Make your house fair as you are able, trim the hearth and set the table. People look east and sing today: Love the guest is on the way.” We are looking forward to having visitors this year. My father and his husband will be celebrating Christmas with us, and I want to make sure all is clean and comfortable for their stay.
I’m OK with most cleaning chores, but there is one that I loathe: dusting. Maybe it’s because it seems so endless—one never really finishes dusting! Or maybe it’s just a more far-ranging task than the more easily compartmentable laundry or vacuuming. Either way, I resist dusting at every turn.
So I laughed to myself when this poem arrived recently by email:
Marilyn Nelson (b. 1946)
Thank you for these tiny
particles of ocean salt,
for the infinite,
For algae spores
and fungus spores,
bonded by vital
mutual genetic cooperation,
from equator to pole.
My hand, my arm
make sweeping circles.
Dust climbs the ladder of light.
For this infernal, endless chore,
for these eternal seeds of rain:
Thank you. For dust.
In these final days of Advent, may we know the interconnectedness of all things, and may we rejoice in the infinite detail waiting to be found in the simplest acts of preparation.