Winter Solstice: Relearning Winter

As we drove home the snow was falling, the road was turning icy, and the day was growing dark as we celebrated Winter Solstice. We were steered around a car accident and saw snowplows gearing up for a late afternoon run. Moving slowly down the road along Lake Roosevelt we were reminded that we always need to relearn winter. I also admit to a short memory. We need to relearn to prepare for getting stranded, to anticipate the deer moving across the road in early evening, and to pause and appreciate and respect this season.Relearning Winter

Hello Winter, hello flanneled
blanket of clouds, clouds
fueled by more clouds, hello again.

Hello afternoons,
off to the west, that silver
of sunset, rust-colored
and gone too soon.

And night (I admit to a short memory)
you climb back in with chilly fingers
and clocks, and there is no refusal:
ice cracks the water main, the garden hose
stiffens, the bladed leaves of the rhododendron
shine in the fog of a huge moon.

And rain, street lacquer,
oily puddles and spinning rubber,
mist of angels on the head of a pin,

and snow, upside-down cake of clouds,
white, freon scent, you build
even as you empty the world of texture-

hello to this new relief,
this new solitude now upon us,
upon which we feed.

Mark Svenvold
from Soul Data, 1998
University of North Texas Press, Denton, TX

Happy Winter Solstice!


  1. beautiful terror.

  2. Happy winter solstice. This post was very appropriate for me today with my daughter home safely. Our weather is mild at the moment but my daughter was coming home from the midwest where she's in grad school. Although she was late she made it. I was a wreck over her renting a car to drive to the connecting flight when the first place had no flights going out. I suppose all is well that ends well. This post resonated with me. Wishing you and yours a happy Christmas.

  3. Dear IEG,
    Thanks as always for having just the right words to touch my heart. Loved this poem and the fact that you are so in tune with your beautiful environment where you live and play.
    Hoping your visit with family in Idaho is a wonderful time for you. Wishing you a blessed Christmas and look forward to what the new year brings.
    Mary Ann

  4. Anonymous23.12.07

    Merry Christmas, IEG!

  5. You're so right about needing to relearn winter! Have a wonderful Christmas!

  6. Do you know that the name of me most favourite book in the world is called 'Winter Solstice' .... lovely photos as usual...



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