Saturday, December 20, 2008


How I love the fact, the symbol of Winter Solstice. There is so much dark, dark every-
where, for so much of the day (night) at this time of the year in this hemisphere, but there is a turning, and if you pause and 'listen,' you can witness it, feel it, the turn, the turn away from the darkness and toward the light. It is the season of Lights. The Light is returning.

I remember a conversation of years ago, via email no less, with a woman I would never end up meeting. She told me of how she would sit sometimes by the ocean, on a jetty preferably, and wait, watch, listen for the
exact moment--and she swore she could detect it--when the tide turned, when the flow ceased and the tide began its incremental, hours-long ebb. I loved that. And though I've never experienced it myself, I think that today I came close. The light is indeed returning, and however incremental and barely perceptible the turn, I felt it--like an about-face, I felt it. That's the fact.

As for the metaphor, I see opportunities moment by moment, one after another, to look in the direction of the darkness or of the light. To see the opulence in every living moment, or to see rents there: this missing, or that missing.

What a brilliant gem the great poet has cut from the earth of this:


with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

~W. S. Merwin

Here's to the indomitable Light.

In memory of Alan Houston


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