Saturday, December 16, 2017

Winter Solstice

Darkness is descending over this land. Deep shadows are falling. But enough about Trump.

No, Virginia, there really isn’t a Santa Claus. Get over it. Chanukah and Christmas are pagan (peasant) celebrations and that’s good enough for me. Our ancestors were the ancient star-gazers in awe of the diminishing light. Who knows what they thought as December 21st approached with its early sunset and late sunrise? 9 1/2 hours of sun, 14 1/2 hours of dark. It could be the end. We better make a fire and sacrifice a goat or chant until the sun reappears.  

Our Judeo-Christian holidays are magnificent metaphors; festivals of candle lights and ornaments to compensate for all that is gone. Drag a tree inside, ever-green, gift-wrap our eyes. We have an urge for renewal, a child maybe with a fabulous back-story.

It’s all good. It works every year. The unconquerable sun will inch northward granting us shorter nights and longer days. We’re good to go for another round.

Ignorant armies clash(ing) by night* … might cease and find their commonweal. Might all the Ebenezers among us pause and dare open their hearts and wallets to care for the Tiny Tims in our midst? Words, dormant all year can be heard… jolly, merry, good cheer. Memories of winter scenes that never happened come to mind. Choirs will carol familiar songs to the waiting choir.

As for St. Nicolas and paraphrase the poet**, Over golden groves unleaving / It is for childhood you are grieving. We believe in Santa until we become him finding within us that gift of giving.

Will it last as days lengthen, candles go out and the tree withers? Can we remember that brief peace, generosity and the will to do good…and what we have bequeathed to our newborn? The peasant in me says yes we must. In the end, that’s all we have.

·                 * Mathew Arnold’s,  Dover Beach

 **Gerard Manley Hopkins, Spring and Fall 

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