08 December 2012

Turning Toward the Morning

It did not snow heavily yesterday but it was enough precipitation to cover the ground in white, the sky this morning is a cold, steel gray, and there are predictions of the first winter snow storm. Overnight, it has become winter. As I looked out the window in my spirit I heard Gordon Bok singing “Turning Toward the Morning.”
When the darkness falls around you
And the Northwind come to blow,
And you hear him call your name out
As he walks the brittle snow:
That old wind don't mean you trouble,
He don't care or even know,
He's just walking down the darkness
Toward the morning.
     This is a song that speaks realistically about winter’s advent and the effect its coming has on the human spirit: I take a deep breath and gather in my things from out there and carry them in here. I stock the cupboard and make certain that those things that bring me comfort are stored close by. I bring out the snow shovels, though at this time of my life I shop for snow blowers. And I long for the coming of Spring though it be months away.
Bok says,  "One of the things that provoked this song was a letter last November from a friend who had had a very difficult year and was looking for the courage to keep on plowing into it.  Those times, you lift your eyes unto the hills, as they say, but the hills of Northern New England in November can be about as much comfort as a cold crowbar.  You have to look ahead a bit, then, and realize that all the hills and trees and flowers will still be there come Spring, usually more permanent than your troubles.  And if your courage occasionally fails, that's okay, too: nobody expects you to be as strong (or as old) as the land." Winter requires acknowledgement and resignation, strength and acceptance. Winter is not an easy season here in the Mid-West: the frigid air, the hard ground, and on days like today, the pervasive gray hue, can depress the spirit. Even the sky appears changed during these winter months: the clearness of the evening and the canopy of stars appeared colder next to the stark nakedness of the trees, their branches like skinny, craggy stiff fingers pointing upward. I suppose that is why our first response to winter is to light the candles and bring the green inside.
It's a pity we don't know
What the little flowers know.
They can't face the cold November
They can't take the wind and snow:
They put their glories all behind them,
Bow their heads and let it go,
But you know they'll be there shining
In the morning
     And so I woke this morning from a fitful night of dreams inspired, no doubt, by the excess of ice cream I consumed for the fat content in which to wrap my bones for winter, I rationalize. It is cold, and gray and snowy, and the storm approaches. I will today buy some hot cocoa mix, wrap myself in the quilt made lovingly for me and settle myself before the fire in the comfy chair with all of my reading and writing material, and turn toward the next morning. 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, light the candles and bring the light of hope into the darkness. That is part of what Chanukah is about.

One can feel like a vulnerable, fragile flower though upon which winter has descended with little warning and one is afraid to ask for a match lest the light illuminate the truth.

08 December, 2012 22:32  

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