Friday, December 25, 2020

 . . . and here I am, with electricity!

Merry Christmas to all who are out of bed too early because of cats, or children, or windstorms, or indigestion. Merry Christmas to all of you who are still asleep, with your cups of coffee growing cold on the night table and your dogs hogging the blankets. 

Here in Maine, it's 51 degrees at 5:30 a.m., and rain is sluicing down. Ruckus has already dashed outside into the storm twice, lured by the strange breezy warmth. Still, despite the temperature, I started a fire in the wood stove. In Portland I don't usually allow myself morning fires because our wood supply is limited and, after all, we do have that bougie appliance known as a furnace.  After two decades of constant stove stoking, I've changed my ways. But today, in honor of Christmas, I am giving myself a treat. And now I am ensconced in my corner of the grey couch, listening to the wind roar and the rain spatter, and watching the small red-gold flames lick at the logs and kindling.

Across the street, lamps are already on and Christmas stockings are undoubtedly in full swing. Last night the kids were capering in the dark as their parents lit big outdoor lanterns and arranged a row of them in the high snowbank along the street. It was so beautiful that I had to go outside in my apron and thank them. Despite the hardships of this year, there we were, neighbors, Dickensian in our cheer, standing in the snow  and the candlelight, and wishing each other joy.

There is terrible sorrow everywhere, so much anxiety and dread and fury. The virus of grief manifests in breath and blood-beat, in dark forebodings at midnight, in petty quarrels with the people we love best.

But those lanterns in the snow, those dancing children! And now, my little wood stove, groaning and clicking as it heats. And the wind roaring, and the rain pounding. I am here, they tell me. I am alive. I love being alive.


nancy said...

: )
Merry Christmas, Dawn!
We lost power early this morning (the wind was roaring here all night, too), but came back on as soon as my son-in-law had finished cooking bacon on the camp stove. It was a wonderful day, with a walk in the rain, too much food, theatrical performances by the grandchildren, and lots of love within our four generation "pod." My daughter gave me a beautiful old Rilke book: Poems from the Book of Hours. This is the opening poem:

You, neighbor god, if sometimes in the night
I rouse you with loud knocking, I do so
only because I seldom hear you breathe
and know: you are alone.
And should you need a drink, no one is there
to reach it to you, groping in the dark.
Always I hearken. Give but a small sign.
I am quite near.

Between us there is but a narrow wall,
and by sheer chance; for it would take
merely a call from your lips or from mine
to break it down,
and that without a sound.

The wall is builded of your images.

They stand before you hiding you like names.
And when the light within me blazes high
that in my inmost soul I know you by,
the radiance is squandered on their frames.

And then my senses, which too soon grow lame,
exiled from you, must go their homeless ways.

Dawn Potter said...

Oh, Rilke. He writes like he is a god watching over us. There is no other poet who makes me feel so cared for.