Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I think of winter as the god’s domain. The goddess and her daughter mourn or sleep, while the god tries his hand at giving life, and gets it wrong.

I went for a dawn walkabout this morning. In summer and fall it’s a ritual, but I always forget the peace and joy this brings in the cold weather as well. The light snow drifts down, just an inch or two deep.

Walking around a cold bare garden in winter, you feel the earth as stone and see the plants as dead, the garden is a grey monotone without form or function. But walking around a cold and snowy garden you see the shapes— of a low stone wall, or of the pond, yin in the water, yang in the stone edging. The plants become plants again with each twig or berry capped by a tiny drift of white.

Seeing the garden in such stark contrast recalls for me the volume and edge that define it. The eye follows the line of luminaries that mirrors the wall, and lands on the metal bird nestled between the sedum (so glad I remembered not to cut back the sedum). Even the trite statement of Italian lights becomes magic in the bluegrey dawn. You remember why a thing becomes trite— because it’s so wonderful that everyone does it.

I think I will decorate for the holidays after all, and bring some of the god’s magic inside.

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