Saturday, December 21, 2013

Longest Night, Shortest Day

Land of Long Shadows

Lingering, lengthening, lavender shadows
softly sadden the snow.
Rowdy clouds and swirling flurries:
shadows slide ’cross slithering drifts.
The sun crawls around the low horizon,
drip-torching flames.
Inuit stalk Inukshuk statues,
their black and white parkas
eclipsing the horizon flares.
A tiny silhouetted sapling,
whipping in the winter wind,
makes a mile-long shadow,
across the creek, over the clearing,
and far into the woods.
In the shadow of faraway mountains,
slate blue flares pink, then fades.
Deep trails flood and fill
with violet blue.
Sunny valley bottoms
are squeezed up into the starry sky,
until all the shadows touch,
and the world is still.

-Ruth Hill

Solstice Ride
December 21st, Winter Solstice is upon us.  A mix of freezing drizzle falls, joined together with whispers of up to a foot of snow.  All the cold and mixed precipitation, which occurred until today, was just "practice" for the other three to four months that still looms ahead.  I try my best to keep my spirits up.  Try not to think of the hours I'll spend layering or the miles spent on my wide cross tires versus my road slicks.  No, I keep my sights on riding to pubs with friends, possible sledding parties, homemade chili and cornbread, bourbon and a stillness found no other time of year.  A stillness which beckons me to curl up under a heavy pile of blankets and read until my eyes can take no more.  

To celebrate the beginning of another winter, and a near closing of another year, I woke early, prepped by winter steed, and set off with friends on a glorious ride around Madison.  Feet like ice blocks, nose rosy, grit and salt from the road finding it's way to my tongue and a smile on my face.  It is times like this I convince myself winter isn't so bad after all.

After the ride, I found myself in the kitchen, putting finishing touches on my contribution to the solstice vegetarian potluck put on by a few friends.  With a brilliant hip hop mix a new friend made blaring in the background, I pumped out split pea/spinach/walnut/blue cheese wontons.  Wrapping these little morsels up to the beat of the music, mixing in a few dance steps along the way and still smiling.  Yes, winter isn't all that bad.


And then came the drive across town, yes...I drove an actual car, the opening of the door, and a myriad of amazing smells along with other smiling faces.  THIS is what winter should be about.  Playing outdoors and sharing great food and drink with wonderful people.  

Coming in from the cold to eat and drink

It is now seven minutes 'til the second day of winter.  Notice I am thinking about the second day of winter versus how many day until it ends.  Happy winter solstice all!  Play hard and be merry!

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