Today's the shortest day of the year, but in central Texas that isn't a wildly dramatic occurence.
The sun rose all pink and orange relatively early and my kids will spend a good portion of their first vacation day jump-roping and swinging in the backyard. It is chilly and crisp and bright.
To really get into the existential mood that is winter solstice, one needs to read poetry.
Preferably dark, lonely, sorrowful poetry.
Like, for example, this:The Snow Man
By Wallace StevensOne must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves
(read the rest here...)
Stevens really knew how to strike the minor chord, didn't he?
I mean, even with the bright crispness of Texas I'm thinking I might have to get in the bath and have a good cry.
Ahhh, but never fear.
I wouldn't leave you like that.
Especially those of you who really are tucked up in the hinterlands, peeking out of piles of dark and snow.
Here's a little glimmer, a little gleam:The Darkling Thrush
By Thomas Hardy
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.
At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
Okay, so you had to read all the way to the end to find it.
And the thrush was aged.
But still. Hope.
And tomorrow is a longer, brighter day.