Wednesday, December 21, 2016

December 21: Orion Vaulted, Winter Solstice, Time

Today is the winter solstice.  The planet tilts just so to its star, lists and holds circling in a fixed tension between veering and longing, and spins helpless, exalted, in and out of that fleet blazing touch.  Last night Orion vaulted and spread all over the sky, pagan and lunatic, his shoulder and knee on fire, his sword three suns at the ready--for what?

I have been waiting all year to use that passage from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.  I purposely saved it for today, the winter solstice.  The sun has less than two more hours of life today, and then darkness will descend.  As Annie Dillard says, Orion will vault and spread, pagan and lunatic.

Not that I will see Orion vaulting and spreading.  Snow is falling right now in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and it's supposed to continue throughout the evening.  At least a couple of inches overnight.  It's all good, though.  I am going to adopt and attitude of blessing this day of long night.  The snow is a blessing because it waters the soil, lays the foundation for the green apocalypse of Spring. 

I am in my university office.  It's about mid-afternoon.  I will be waiting about four hours for my daughter to be done with her dance lessons.  That's a blessing, too, because I will be able to finish my blog posts for the day, read some, write some, try to get some votes for Poet Laureate.  It's a gift of time.  Quiet, undisturbed time.

As my two Constant Readers know, an attitude of blessing does not come naturally to me.  I tend to gravitate toward the dark side.  I wouldn't necessarily call myself a pessimist, but I am certainly not an optimist.  If there is some middle "ist" between pessimism and optimism, that's where I fall.  Maybe I'm an opessimist.  Or a pessoptimist.  I don't like the label "realist," because it seems to close the door on the possibility of the wondrous.

So, I will choose to be an opessimist.  I give thanks for the blessings of the day (the licorice in my desk drawer, for instance), but I know that darkness is roaring across the globe toward me.

Please vote for Saint Marty (Martin Achatz):

Voting for next Poet Laureate of the U. P.

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