Winter Ramblings ~ Solstice Celebration

And so it arrives today, the first day of winter. The wheel of the year turns the old Earth towards the sun once again. Hail the precious seconds at dawn and dusk when our great star creeps back into our daily lives. The dreary darkness gives way to the light. The return of the light ~ Winter Solstice.

unnamedThe day is calm and warm. Snow and ice cling to the earth already. The harsh frost filled morning melts into a tranquil afternoon. On this day, celebrate simply with an offering of seeds and suet to the birds. Enjoy the blue jays, morning doves, juncos and sparrows. Welcome the chickadee and finch. Give them a free meal today. In remembrance of the Earth, put out a simple feast of cake and wine. A little something to thank her for all she gave us this year and all she will give next.

At this time of year, I always remember Thoreau and his reflections from Walden Pond.

“For sounds in winter nights, and often in winter days, I heard the forlorn but melodious note of a hooting owl indefinitely far; such a sound as the frozen earth would yield if struck with a suitable plectrum, the very lingua vernacula of Walden Wood, and quite familiar to me at last, though I never saw the bird while it was making it. I seldom open my door in a winter evening without hearing it; Hoo, hoo, hoo, hoorer hoo,” Thoreau, Walden: Winter Animals.

How pleasant to pause in the yard and hear the nuthatch ambling up the maple tree. The grey squirrels take their graceful leaps and bounds searching for food. The sun watches all low on the horizon. The river twinkles in the distance through the trees. A blessed place this is to take a rest. Now is the time for reflection on what has past and what is now and what is yet to come.

barn-owl-in-snowCelebrate the simple life at home with the creatures of the earth and sky. Make a sincere offering of thanks. Stay warm, stay well and blessed be.

 

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There are Owls ~ Henry David Thoreau

Barred_Owl_m50-4-005_l“I rejoice that there are owls. Let them do the idiotic and maniacal hooting for men. It is a sound admirably suited to swamps and twilight woods which no day illustrates, suggesting a vast and undeveloped nature which men have not recognized. They represent the stark twilight and unsatisfied thoughts which all have. All day the sun has shown on the surface of some savage swamp, where the double spruce stands hung with usnea lichens, and small hawks circulate above, and the chickadee lisps amid the evergreens, and the partridge and rabbit skulk beneath; and now a more dismal and fitting day dawns, and a different race of creatures awakes to express the meaning of Nature there.”

From Walden, Sounds & Solitude 1854

A Winter Walk

The sluggish smoke curls up from some deep dell.
The stiffened air exploring in the dawn,
And making slow acquaintance with the day
Delaying now upon its heavenward course,
In wreathed loiterings dallying with itself,
With as uncertain purpose and slow deed.

a-winter-walk-michele-kennaAs its half-wakened master by the hearth,
Whose mind still slumbering and sluggish thoughts
Have not yet swept into the onward current
Of the new day;�and now it streams afar,
The while the chopper goes with step direct,
And mind intent to swing the early axe.

First in the dusky dawn he sends abroad
His early scout, his emissary, smoke,
The earliest, latest pilgrim from the roof,
To feel the frosty air, inform the day;
And while he crouches still beside the hearth,
Nor musters courage to unbar the door,
It has gone down the glen with the light wind,
And o’er the plain unfurled its venturous wreath,
Draped the tree-tops, loitered upon the hill,
And warmed the pinions of the early bird;
And now, perchance, high in the crispy air,
Has caught sight of the day o’er the earth’s edge,
And greets its master’s eye at his low door,
As some refulgent cloud in the upper sky.

Henry David Thoreau

October 1843 Published in The Dial

Picture Credit: A Winter Walk by Michele Kenna

I Rejoice That There Are Owls

Civetta“I rejoice that there are owls. Let them do the idiotic and maniacal hooting for men. It is a sound admirably suited to swamps and twilight woods which no day illustrates, suggesting a vast and undeveloped nature which men have not recognized. They represent the stark twilight and unsatisfied thoughts which all have. All day the sun has shown on the surface of some savage swamp, where the double spruce stands hung with usnea lichens, and small hawks circulate above, and the chickadee lisps amid the evergreens, and the partridge and rabbit skulk beneath; and now a more dismal and fitting day dawns, and a different race of creatures awakes to express the meaning of Nature there.”

Henry David Thoreau