Solstice, and Beyond

Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.”

image1 (11)This is the view I had through the window Monday from where I was lying in the living room just after sunset, in the late afternoon. This solstice moon had come up and I felt blessed, even though all I was doing was the Sudoku from the morning paper, and reading some emails from friends, thinking about what we’d have for supper.

At Portland Revels Sunday afternoon, we heard yet again the Susan Cooper poem, “The Shortest Day.”

And so the Shortest Day came, and the year died.
And all down the centuries of the snow-white world came people
Singing, dancing, to drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees.
They hung their homes with evergreens.
They burned beseeching fires all night long to keep the year alive.
And when that New Year’s sunshine blazed awake, they shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them, echoing behind us — Listen!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day.
As promise wakens in the sleeping land,
They carol, feast, give thanks
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.

My role, 21 years ago, when I was in the chorus of our first Portland Revels, was to recite that poem, and I’ve always been fond of it. John Langstaff, the founder of the modern Boston Revels, was still alive then, and he came west those first years to play The Lord of the Dance.

image1 (10)Noah, age 2, and his Mum, our grand-daughter Emily, were here this afternoon. He and I, downstairs getting out some books, came on the old leather satchel that contains a collection of recorders. He is the fifth generation now to have begun playing on these “pipes” as he called them.

image1 (12)On December 27th, having our son Tom’s 60th birthday party right here in this house was very special. We’ve been together for very few of his birthdays since he’s been living in Pittsburgh all these years. There was a snowy one in London in 1978. And this one proved snowy, too, building up just enough white outdoors to heighten the sense of color and affection and warmth indoors.

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