12.21.15 The longest night. We walked out to the head of the lake at “sunset” which was shrouded in cold gray fog and rain mixed with snow. We were silent and still, thinking of all the memories we’ve had at this special place–the profoundly sad ones as well as the happy ice skating ones. We were in a bit of a rush, with a 3 a.m. wake-up call in order to catch our flight tomorrow. Instead of taking a thermos of hot Irish whiskey, we made our way to the brewery on our way back home for a quick pint and a little dinner. Our suitcases are packed, and we have a candle lit on the dining room table to burn all night long–well, until the very wee hours of the morning.
Now it is Winter, and we are moving into “The slowed down-season held fast by darkness.” There are many lessons to learn about keeping watch over my own solitude. But, first, it’s off to California to celebrate Christmas with two beautiful daughters, two golden sons-in-law, three leaping grandchildren, and, perhaps, a partridge in Sarah’s magnolia tree!
Winter Grace by Patricia Fargnoli
If you have seen the snow
under the lamppost
piled up like a white beaver hat on the picnic table
or somewhere slowly falling
into the brook
to be swallowed by water,
then you have seen beauty
and know it for its transience.
And if you have gone out in the snow
for only the pleasure
of walking barely protected
from the galaxies,
the flakes settling on your parka
like the dust from just-born stars,
the cold waking you
as if from long sleeping,
then you can understand
how, more often than not,
truth is found in silence,
how the natural world comes to you
if you go out to meet it,
its icy ditches filled with dead weeds,
its vacant birdhouses, and dens
full of the sleeping.
But this is the slowed-down season
held fast by darkness
and if no one comes to keep you company
then keep watch over your own solitude.
In that stillness, you will learn
with your whole body
the significance of cold
and the night,
which is otherwise always eluding you.