Monday, November 4, 2013

A Solstice of Sorts

Imagine, if you will, a boy standing amidst a circle of towering stones, bigger than could ever be considered, yet stacked and carved and made into a sacred space. Today a spectacular thing will happen, the sun will rise up through an opening in the stones, shine down a long corridor walled with rock and the light will illuminate the altar of their ancestors.

A crowd is thrilled and the air is filled with questions:

“Will it happen again?”

“Will they be happy this year?”

“Have we done enough to get us through?”

That is what the boy senses most, will they make it through, for this is the winter solstice, the grain is all harvested, the hay is ready for the animals, the fruit is drying, the mead is made. Now, they must wait it out. The storms will come, the cold will hurt and the children, the boy included, will be afraid.

“It is all good,” his father reminds him. “We know that the days will get longer now and we are sure the spring and planting and the birds will all come back again. It is all good.”

For so many weeks now the boy has noticed the days shortening, not just seen it with his eyes, but, somehow he sensed it. A sense of fear, dread perhaps, sometimes seeps into his bones like the cold of night or the chill of death he is all too familiar with.

But today, although it is the longest night, tomorrow's will be shorter. Although the winds will be blowing and the rain will be frigid and the ground will be muddy and the animals will be uncomfortable and the work will be hard and their bellies will rumble, there is a hope in the collective soul of his people.

Taken from a different, perhaps deeper perspective, the boy knows that as the winter comes so will the stories of his ancestors, the stories of his people, the stories of great deeds and battles, struggles and triumphs. He will learn these stories, he will own them, he will become them.

Two boys are playing in the early Autumn evening sun.  A battle rages between them and an imagined enemy. They dance and spin and thrust with swords and lances and daggers which appear to be simple sticks but dreams have transformed them just as they have transformed the boys into warriors, heroes, men.

A banner is fabricated and raised high above a corner of the yard which is an “imaginary garden” which must be protected at all cost.  It is festooned - as should be all sacred places - with flowers and sticks, a fence is the canvas, nature is the palette. Their earnestness is deep and palpable, the effort as important as laughter or sadness, history or presence.

The play-set is a place of rest and recuperation. Safety. A place they know, a place they have never not known, a sanctuary. A place that is theirs.  A citadel.

Today is the last day to languish in the after-dinner sun. Tonight the clocks all fall backwards, the hours change, the cycle changes. Before bed a fire will blaze instead of the brilliant setting sun; the music will play instead of the laughter, heated threats and yells of imagined battle. Tomorrow, it will all be different.

A solstice of sorts.

It is where the wildness led them... and always has.

From Marci's "Things you   Wait, I can't check her FaceBook page...

I've been writing down some of my own, anticipating that:

"You can't bounce it up and down like a squishy heart..."

Or can you... ?

Thanks for stopping around here, even if things do seem a little, well, different.  Actually, I stand in amazement that you do.  Thanks.


  1. Epic imaginations and use of sticks and pinecones and coated fence wire. I'd say your yard is lucky to have such intrepid defenders.

  2. The darker days bring dread for me as well. I often wonder if I'd fare as well in this windy city without my children to remind me of excitement surrounding the first snowfall, a fire on the hearth and warm cocoa. Fare thee well, my friend, your presence is missed in the land of bookFace.