I'm hoping to do something special for the Solstice this year, but I'm not yet sure what. (And I'm running out of time, and not feeling all that well. So we'll see.) In the meantime, I wanted to share an old poem, written back in 2004 when I was pregnant with BJ.
Strange to see nothing but light
on the longest night of the year —
but everywhere I looked, my eyes laughed
dazzled by electric brilliance, sparkling
icicle lights where no icicles will ever freeze
much less melt — an everpresent glow,
the sodium glare, only a few stars visible
and the generous slice of the moon.
Most years, the darkness descends
like my grandmother’s cloak, surrounding
my shoulders and settling there for the season,
a sinister embrace, less like love than like loss,
not quite despair, but something quieter, less
intense and more pervasive. Dolor. Sorrow.
Something that flavors every touch of the tongue
to the teeth, every swallow, every breath,
every blink. Most years, it is tempting
to keep my eyes shut as long as possible
to sleep away the heavy hours of winter.
Hibernation has a wisdom all its own.
Bears know this. Reptiles too. There’s something
to be said for dreaming one’s way through
Instead, this year, I am an intrepid insomniac,
awake at almost any hour, unable to switch off
the unsubtle sussurations inside my skull
unable to settle in by your sleeping body
unable to gather the quilt around my throat
and savor the feline warmth of a cat curled
into my aching back. This year, the baby
wakes me, kicking, stretching, hiccuping
inside me. My hips hurt. My heart burns.
I pace through our small house like a feral cat,
nocturnal, stalking sleep.
Strange how the world winks by in the wee hours
when the sane people are asleep. Time turns on itself
thickens, thins, unpredictably. The art of quiet
consideration becomes an unconscious act,
and it feels like a secret time, separate from
the whirling world, apart from anything real
or rare. I would not seek out these hours
but now that I have them, I honor them
for their whispering moments, their starpoint
secrecy. There does not seem to be enough
of me to fill every second — even though
I am pregnant and twenty five pounds more
than I was six months ago, even though
there is a new consciousness carried within me,
miracle mystery, commonplace magic.
As wonderful and ordinary as season’s change,
as inexplicable and usual as sunrise,
the body cycling, world turning,
the miracle of leaves,
the mystery of the moon,
the blessing of my belly
heavy in my lap.