Monday, December 28, 2015

May Your Days be Merry and Bright

It was a good Christmas. We filled our bellies as full as the moon and sang together and tromped through the snowy woods and had a merry time doing all the usual things that families such as ours do, to celebrate the holidays. A half foot of new snow fell Christmas night through day after, with big fluffy flakes floating softly down, bringing with them a sense of quiet gratitude, and peace, to those of us in need of them. There is a comfort in the sound of snowflakes falling, in the slight rustle of a lone oak leaf, the muffled crunch of icy snow underfoot, the way cold changes things...

I always miss the snow, but this year the Fall was particularly hard, with bleak grey skies and chilly rains persisting well into December. Sunday was the first bright blue snow-shiney day in many moons, and the first we've seen of the sun in weeks. In the afternoon I borrowed a pair of skis, put on a pair of ill-fitting blue-and-white striped boots and set out to break a trail through the fresh snow, past the first fence-row and the second, through the old gravel pit and back to the lake, down to the beaver dam, up through the circle and around to the big hill, then back home through the north woods...the snow hung gently on the trees, and sparkled silently in the open fields, catching the light of our nearest star and throwing it forth again in a spectacular, unknowable number of angles.

A sight for sore eyes, to be sure. As the day is long, and the night is dark...

They say, of course, that every snowflake is unique, but does that come as a surprise, when every moment is unique, unrepeatable, unfathomable really, in its singular infinitude? What time does it take for a crystal to form, to join with another? Is this a simple thing, or a complex one, to take and/or create shape in this way? How is it that we can think of water as a molecule, apart from the drop, the crystal, the snowflake, the snow-covered field, the blue-colored sky casting itself onto it, the grassy ground that lies beneath? Why do we humans persist in thinking of these as separate things? Is it a failure of language, of imagination, of intelligence? Or is it simply that we refuse to acknowledge what we already know? Or have we not yet learned it yet? Or, all of the above--and then some?

We scarcely understand what matter is, much less what matters.

Upon my arrival home yesterday, I discovered on my doorstep a surprise Christmas gift, from a man who I love and admire very was a book, sent to me by my father, one which I think may hold answers to some of these questions, as well as to others that I've not had the insight to ask or to consider on my own. A timely present, as it were.  And a sweet one. An act of kindness and of that a simple thing? What is received, and what is reflected, by such a gesture? Or any gesture?

It is the thought that counts, they say, and there is some truth in that.
Ah so, I wax philosophical while the moon wanes, and the winds blow...There's more snow coming our way tonight, and yet more tomorrow. It will be a relief, to be blanketed in white once again, and to rest in the arms of Old Man Winter for a time. Until then, I shall have to settle for resting in my bed... 

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