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100 Days of Gladness: Day 24

NaPoWriMo: “A Holy Moment at Costco”

image courtesy of

It was just before Christmas.

The sky was not having it.

It smashed glasses of sleet down on the pavement,

opened fire hydrants of rain, smacked us with wild,

yowling gusts of wind. You had to hold on to your cart

to keep from blowing away in the parking lot.

Inside Costco, we scrambled around with lists.

We crossed items off, one by one. Then, pushing

our heavy loads, we made a mad dash for

the checkout stands where we waited

in crawling, torpid, endless lines so long

you might fall asleep on your feet


I was at the beginning of this mess,

in the electronics aisle

comparing prices, sizes, stats —

when suddenly

a massive sigh of exoneration

heaved through the building

and the lights went out.

And not just the lights, either.

The cash registers, the hum of the heaters,

every machine in the whole building.

The silence that took over

turned all our big, staticky problems

into into dandelion seed

sand blew them away.

Nobody moved.

We looked around, smiling and shy.

The thing I will never forget about

this moment, about standing still

in that big, dark, densely populated place

is the bone deep, physical relief

of that silence.

We all felt it.

And no one spoke.

But if we did, it was

in the whispers you might use

during a total eclipse of the sun,

or looking up inside the Sistine Chapel,

or looking down at your sleeping newborn baby.


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