Sunday, March 29, 2009

Giving Winter His Last Due...

~a cold lake in March~
Reluctance - by Robert Frost
Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended. The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping. ~winter leaves slower here, by the Lake in the frozen North~
And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last long aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question 'Whither?' Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

~a promise that the end of winter is finally here~
I promise you, when fall has finally ended each year, I am always ready to bow to winter. I relish the storms and the ice and snow, as they mean cozy nights by the fireside with mugs of hot coffee and cocoa, and warm friendly feelings inside with my family...but when the Spring Goddess finally comes on her fairy-feet to spread yellow and green and red shoots, I am there to sniff them, to pluck them, to drink them in. I fairly want to lie naked in the warming earth and let it just soak down to my bones. There is a different sort of ritual-feeling than what I give to Winter; Winter demands a compliance - a pushed down and in kind of feeling...which I am ready for when the circle of seasons come right down to it again.
But all the while the stiff, sullen Winter has been King, I have been worshipping a secret, warm goddess in my heart.
There was a wintry air, the last hard bits of the season stuck in the lake where we spent a few days of our Spring Break, so I honored it and took pictures of it and enjoyed what there was to enjoy in the lingering of that season there - giving Winter it's due. "Yes, Winter. You are great and mighty. Yes you are the King, you are harsh and subduing, oh mighty Cold One."
Here comes all of her windy, clear blue days of sun and growth and chirping and...ALIVENESS.
This is the ancient Goddess of Spring...ancient Germans called her Ostara (this is where we get the name for the Christian holiday "Easter.") Do you see that she is always depicted with a hare, flowers and birds? She scatters warmth and newness on her people and they are so grateful for her coming. They've tired of broken backs under the harsh rule of Winter, and look forward to the coming of Ostara - bringer of light and life and sweetness, leaving bare footprints in the softening earth.
I welcome her with open arms! I honor Spring by planning my gardens, cleaning out the last of Winter's flustering from the corner of my fences, by learning how to make soap, and making sure I have bunches of bright flowers on my dinner table. I welcome her with my scrubbing and scouring, by draping tables with fresh linens, and sweeping clean my hearth. I bid her "Enter!" by listening to the snap of the sheets on the clothesline, noticing new green mint shoots, and marvelling at how bunnies create arches over their paths under the bushes.
I lay to rest the old season, and welcome the new. Each given its due in time, and, to use my buddy Bob's words:
Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?


Christine said...

the little creatures here are venturing out for small bits of sun to close their eyes beneath and soak up warmth.nibbling green bits of soft grass growing around the edges of sun warm rocks.

the trees bud and tiny leaves brave the chill march air.

thank you for sharing how beautiful this earth is, even the dry bits of grass with green shoots pushing them aside. thank you my girl.

Carole said...

How lovely your poem is. I wish I could write like that. I've just refound your blog. Love your images of nature.
Will be back to visit again,