. . . This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath, the door
of a vanished house left ajar. . .
~ Margaret Atwood, Excerpt from Solstice Poem
Ice Egg Spiral - A Gift for Solstice
I wake early for a busy day because every day is busy before Christmas. First, as soon as it's light, I head outdoors into the frozen land of the shortest day. This year, I have been sharing this wonderful Margaret Atwood poem about solstice with my writing friends. It's a very very long and amazing poem, and what I've shared above is only a tiny excerpt (my favorite). I brought the entire poem for us to read aloud and used it as a warm up to a free write in my Farm Pond Writer's Collective workshop yesterday. At first, everyone gasped a little at the length of it. And then every writer found a branch to leap from, musing in her own creative writing process.
Today I am lucky because I lead my monthly play lab online and we don't start until 8 p.m. and so my darkest shortest day will end by creating a little imaginative story fire around the hearth, hearing women writers working on monologues from around the country. This is such nourishment for me, being part of the birthing process of new work by others.
Shopping, decorating, addressing cards, buying stamps, choosing gifts and making plans and reservations and paying bills and cooking extra foods – all this before the holidays takes over more and more of my own writing time. All by choice, of course. I'm grateful to create a holiday with a family I cherish. And yet, I miss probing and revising and fine tuning my own thoughts into a poem or an essay. And my Monday night critique group, where I take my own work, won't meet now for three more weeks, and I miss the pressure of an advancing weekly deadline to center me. But my pictures are poems; especially this week, as if my receptivity while in the meadow and woods is heightened in the absence of my poem making with words. These pictures are poems. Here, in the frozen galaxy of brook is a gorgeous ice egg with a spiral center, perfection – a message for me on a solstice morning. I wonder what is within this frozen egg that will thaw and un-spiral, birthing a new life into the world? An egg, fertilized, conceived, as yet unborn, a spiral in the center of my being, because this egg is my own. There were many pictures in the ice; another woman would have found her own precious solstice gift. But, boot skating, all alone, on the glassy hidden brook that runs into the Charles, I was there, first thing this morning. I was there for mine and claim it.