As I wrap my cold hands around
this clay cup of steaming earl gray,
the sun not yet risen above the frozen horizon,
warmth penetrates to my palms
and I think of the hands that shaped this vessel,
Richard Bresnehan's hands,
caked with wet clay
as he sits at a foot-powered wheel
like a meditating monk
present only in this magic moment of creation,
the morning sun like an aura, backlighting his body.
I think of the red oak trees that fuel the kiln,
as well of the hands that harvested them.
With each sip I rejoice in kindness and friendship,
my body basking in the warmth of my wood stove
as I touch pen to paper.
Larry Schug is retired after a life of various kinds of physical labor. He currently volunteers as a college writing tutor, though that opportunity is currently on hold due to the pandemic. He lives with his wife, dog and cats near a large tamarack bog in St. Wendel Township, Minnesota