I'm not talking about turning forty, though I did that earlier this winter too. I'm talking about whatever it is that's been rumbling about in the subtext of my life for about the past six months. Since maybe the beginning of October. I knew whatever it was, it was going to be big. And ultimately it will be for the good. It's just that--well, remember that part in CS Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Eustace tells Aslan he wants to be a little boy again, instead of the dragon he's turned into because he's been behaving like such a horrible excuse for a human being?
And remember how Aslan responds? Essentially, he says, "Okay, but first I'm going to have to take your skin off."
Yeah. It's been a bit like that.
So I started off the New Year with a much-anticipated trip to see some darling friends in Virginia, Nashville, Ohio, and various parts of PA (with a quick stop in West Virginia to change my tire in the middle of the night.....twice....) which was a mixed blessing. The bitter, with the sweet. One of those darling friends is fighting a losing battle with a brain tumour, and my trip to see her was to say goodbye. This post isn't about that. It's not my story to tell, and her husband will tell it in his own way as he is able. Nor is it about the way my heart fell out of my coffee cup in Green Hills Friday morning and into a glass of pinot noir later that evening, came to rest in the shelter of a Saturday afternoon kitchen in East Nasty and then poured out open across the Kentucky hills as I drove through the darkness outside Elizabethtown (yes, that one).
Nope, this is a post about a poem that happened when I got home, had to take down the Christmas tree, and realised I was wearing a dragon skin. And that I wasn't in charge of when it was coming off. Like Eustace, I could kick and scream, or I could lie down and take it.
Being me, there's been a lot of kicking and screaming. It's been grand, let me tell you. But anyway, with apparently way too much ado, here's the first of a series of poems that came out of that journey and its aftermath. There's not quite so much kicking and screaming in this one.
After the Epiphany
When we take the lights down, tangling our hope
for another winter, we are supposed to hold on to clarity,
onto the visions of yesterday. Instead there is the bleak
January sun, and the promise of hard freeze yet to come.
The trees we bustled indoors so recently—
their needles, still green, have fallen into drifts.
Some of us will not live out the season; others
cannot imagine the soft light of spring
ever coming. This year is perpetual winter for certain.
Sometimes the light breaks in all at once,
dazzling us into temporary blindness, and we
cannot see the ground for the stars in our eyes.