Today marks the Winter Solstice-- the year's shortest day and longest night. As the minutes slipped away prior to the Official Astronomical Event, I wormed my way under our new house for one last intimate encounter with the earth. (The practical reason for this ritual was that a faulty extension cord needed replacing; the shower drain--so carefully surrounded with heat-tape, insulation, and a tyvek-wrapped, earth-banked styroboard frost wall--would do us no good through the winter's whistling winds if the heat-tape could not be trustworthily plugged in!)
Now I am back inside the house, grubby but warm, relaxing into the knowledge that the last great ritual has been successfully performed and we shall henceforth be able to Hold The Wolf of Winter At Bay. (We won't make any bold predictions about any other wolves just yet, but suffice to say that we're really boning up on our wolf-wrangling skills and getting better every day!)
The Proper Activity of Northern Winter Folk is repair and creation: the careful tending of tools and gear, the mending of strained relationships, and the creation of things both useful and beautiful. My heart is ready, now--and if you will permit me a bit of creative indulgence--my rusty bardic muse is in need of some warm-up stretches. Like any stretch, the following will involve the potential of painful reaches and the appearance of ridiculousness, but these seasonal tasks simply MUST be done...
2009: A TERM FOR THE VERSE
January started out
cold and full of gripes:
Our year began with frozen folk,
cold house and frozen pipes.
February came along
with icy, sparkling jaws--
We went outside and froze some more--
for a worthy local cause.
March brought hard digging
us now praise installers
of pipes, shower and toilet!
seedtrays sat out,
dark soil dreaming
and sending up sprouts.
May--month of sweet melting
and warming and growing!
New piglets were bought.
In the fields we went sowing.
June--to market and home again,
all in a whirl
to host a church picnic
and the dear Wild Girls!
July started wet and grew wet enough
to douse any forest fire.
Pigs being pigs, in the mud they did dig,
and slipped out under the wire.
August brought an island journey--
oh, sweet farm-women's reprieve!
Our first home-grown bull met his meaty end:
a choice we did not grieve.
September: batten down the farm
and rush to catch a plane
For a family wedding we piped and preached--
so good to see kinfolk again!
October came to
a bittersweet end.
With bards and musicians,
we mourned a dear friend.
November brought the cold and dark--
a fearful time for the farm.
But oh! We gave thanks for our sweet new house,
where the woodstove kept us warm!
December sang softly of flickering hope,
now fanned to a stalwart flame.
We plan for years, fields, and friends to come.
Solstice Blessings! May you do the same!
--copyright MaineCelt 12/2009
(This post's images were taken during a visit to Trustworth Studios.)