Friday Favorites: Winter's Homage

As I sit here writing, the temperatures in my little corner of the world have bottomed out, and it's so cold outside that the wind is trying to steal my breath to warm itself. Tomorrow, it'll be just at the freezing mark and snow is forecasted for the area. The next day, it's supposed to rise up to 41F (5C), which will most likely feel like a heatwave.  I wouldn't speed up this process for anything. Winter is meant to be cold, harsh and foreboding. It is also a time of rest, contemplation, and planning.

We tend to love the idea of winter during the solstice season. We want snow for Yule/Christmas. We just adore bundling up in sweaters, drinking hot chocolate, and curling up by a fire. When the holidays are over, the same weather we'd been lauding is now bleak and ugly. By February, even those complaining are tired of hearing themselves talk about it. It's all about perspective. Spring will come soon enough, and we'll be getting very busy with life again. It'll be much more hectic and there won't be time to think, much less contemplate or rest.

One of my favorite poets is Patricia Monaghan. Her book, "Seasons of the Witch," is an homage to the turning of the wheel. She crossed over the veil a few years ago, but her legacy lives in the pages of her works, and in the flames they ignite within our hearts.

Here is one of my favorites to read at this time of year.Maybe this will help my fellow winterlings endure:

Lying Fallow

     After storms, I walk the winter garden.
     In bone-time, I see the world's structure: the oak's drama, the ash's dance, the curtain of the alder. The shapes of innerness, the way the light falls on the open boughs, what it reveals of the past, the future.
     A flicker of red cardinal, that rough imperial presence.
     I walk the woodland path. Without distraction of hope, I see what is ending, ready to die. The ironwood, bark twisted around its narrow frame, its roots loosening in the earth. The tilting willow, about to relax unto death. The great old maple that soon will fall. Then my throat will tighten, my eyes flood. Now, I look without bitterness at the past, the future.
     No regrets. Only seeds. Everywhere, seeds. The past, the future. At the road, burdock holds up pointy fists. Beneath, yarrow stands, erect small soldiers. Grass catches wind, swooning to the ground and springing back. Rose hips gleam, and the last red firethorn.
     The special beauty of waiting. Patience and reserve. Proud bearing, infinite vulnerability. Things seen for what they are.
     Dark shadow on the snow; above me, crow calls.

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