Monday, December 20, 2004

One of the funniest things about parenthood is getting used to your child's lack of ability in some area, and going along for months with your child not being able to have a conversation, or not being able to string together more than two words, and then having her completely overturn your expectations out of the middle of nowhere.

It is such a rush of joy. I'm not exactly sure what causes it: empathizing with somebody else's discovery, pride at reasonably shepherding someone to the point where they could learn that ever so valuable skill, awe at the freshly upturned memory of how difficult every little thing is to pick up when you start with nothing.

It is like having a little fountain of illumination go off in the dusty cavity of your chest.

Tomorrow is the solstice. Usually, at this time of the year, I find myself obsessing about light. A couple of years ago, I found myself crying when I accidentally came across Here come the Sun, by the Beatles. I pretty much decided at that point that the winter solstice should be celebrated as itself, however I could.

This year, a co-worker, a very nice lady who has extended me every kindness already, passed me a poem after I bellyached about my seasonal affective disorder, or whatever personality problem it is that I indulge during the winter.

Depression in Winter

Jane Kenyon

There comes a little space between the south
side of a boulder
and the snow that fills the woods around it.
Sun heats the stone, reveals
a crescent of bare ground: brown ferns,
and tufts of needles like red hair,
acorns, a patch of moss, bright green....

I sank with every step up to my knees,
throwing myself forward with a violence
of effort, greedy for unhappiness-
until by accident I found the stone,
with its secret porch of heat and light,
where something small could luxuriate, then
turned back down my path, chastened and calm.

***

It was very relaxing.

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