Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice 2011

Borealys is stretched out on my bed, gladly sharing space with one of our elder kitties, Otto. In the past few months, Borealys has become wise. She is now the guardian of the household, the First Moose Spotter, the one who notices the slightest changes in her environment. Otto befriends anyone in the house who needs love, and recently, all of us do, so he is kept busy snuggling with first one, then the other. Ursa, old dog, beloved eldest august dog, snoozes on the horsey bed on the floor. Her bones creak, and her back legs often collapse underneath her when she is outside in the snowy cold. Still, she grins and wags, showing her yellow worn teeth, simply delighted to be on this planet with her family. Kali, oldest kitty, and Sadie, youngest kitty, sleep on opposite ends of the rug in front of the heater, their detente years old, yet still uneasy. Sunny is perched on the bathrug on the tub, his fur eternally unruly. Kayt is washing dishes, her favorite chore. She hums quietly to some tune playing in her head. From the corner desk, I survey my family on this Winter Solstice night. Everything shifts on this night. Just a few weeks ago, we were gaining seven minutes of dark every day. Now the earth stops its plunge towards the dark, hesitates. And tomorrow, we turn back towards the sun, add a few precious seconds to day.

Nearly two years stretch between tonight and my last post on Beyond Ester. So much water has passed beneath this bridge. The water sometimes roils dark and murky. Since I've last written, two old friends died by their own hand. Both our work situations are plagued with uncertainty. America's economy lurches, and our financial situation seems wedged between car repair bills and doctor bills. Our beloved truck has been parked for months, the years and miles having finally caught up with us. The heater--the new heater--is in the shop again, after three emergency repair calls in just a month.

And then there are times when the water flows clear, transparent, and oh so sweet. The unseasonably warm weather so far this winter has been a blessing for the old dog, Ursa, and me. The warm friendliness of the other musicians at the Ester Jelly Jam, the community we have helped to create sustain me from week to week. The steadiness of the music, the predictability of old time music, orders my Sundays for a sweet three hours. A baby came this fall. Holding him, feeling life surge beneath my hands refreshes my spirit. The blessing of our old dog, loyal and unswerving in her devotion to family, reaffirms my commitment to life. Otto caterwauls about a dirty catbox, and the loaner heater switches on at exactly the right moment. A neighbor stops by to chat about chickens and dogs, and gives us eggs in exchange for old fencing we no longer use. A student stops by the office to say "you changed my life." The ordinary and mundane and extraordinary and rare are equally welcome.

And so this Winter Solstice arrives and finds me both grateful for the return of the light, and yet nostalgic for the dark. I find peace, somehow, in the inherent contradictions. Blessings to all of you, blessings on your house and your families.


  1. covered dog beds are the ultimate in comfort, especially for small dogs. covered dog bedsI thanks full to your commenting and sharing.

  2. Thanks for letting me know that you've started up this blog again. It's good to know that we're neighbors in the Interior. Hope we can connect over the holidays.