Now Winter Nights Enlarge

winter nights enlarge - 1

12.29.15  We are home from California, and I’m guessing it snowed every day we were gone.  There must have been a day of sunshine, because long icicle daggers hang from the edges of the roof all along its length.  As well as a power outage, because our outside white light trees, on timers, did not come on at 4 p.m.  There is always an element of suspense when we get home to our woods, especially in these long dark nights of Winter.  It is only just beginning to settle in over us as we approach the final day of 2015.  A long long season is upon us.

I’ve always loved the first stanza of Thomas Campion’s poem:

Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours,
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze,
And cups o’erflow with wine;
Let well-tuned words amaze
With harmony divine.

Written in the 1600’s, I don’t get the rest of it, but I certainly understand the clouds, the storms, chimneys blazing, wine and well-tuned words.  It is the sustenance of Winter.  And, I also know what it feels like to be lost in this dark season; David Wagoner reminds me to stand still in my trees.


Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.


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