Friday, December 23, 2016

the year wanes, light and dark

Winter Solstice ‘16

at least, for now, nothing we humans do
can change the rigid pattern of the dance
Earth and Sun move with each other,
as if each is the other’s partner
in formal scripted choreography,

early tomorrow the Sun will pause in its retreat to the south,
and slowly begin its return to the north toward the bounty of summer,

weather is a fickle servant of such grand schemes,
a lagging indicator of the Sun’s power and the Earth’s response,
the last few days here have been cold and gray,
hoar-frost and light snow just a mile up the valley from us,

who knows what’s up, literally,
thousands of feet higher
at the top of the mountain,
my mother quoted some of her campers as asking:
“What happens to the people on top when the mountain disappears?”

yesterday’s rain up there fills the creek,

but clouds are settled deep on the mountain
and block our view of the upper reaches,

outside, the air clears and lets the black of the sky
paint itself above me, and lets the stars remind us of light,
even in the darkest of times,
the Solstice slowly awakens
with a clarity to the air we’ve not had for days,
sharp lines in trees and ridge
replace the fuzzy blurring the mist smudged,

I face the east and await the Sun’s rising,
reminding myself of Native American wisdom
held in a meditation I often use,
to let there be light in my word and on my path,
by how starting over can unburden us of sorrow,
the sun is slow to rise over the mountains to the east,
even more so this day when it is lowest in the sky,
just as it climbs over the mountain,
so does it begin the climb back to the north
and toward the center of the sky above,

the Sun breaks upon the valley,
and we fill the day with chores and cooking,
Christmas is a-coming,
the family soon will be back together,
though this time is of the dark,
we choose this time to be of the light.

by Henry H. Walker

December 20-21, ’16

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