Thursday, December 15, 2011

Winter's Gifts of Earth

I live in the northern hemisphere. For us, the winter comes now. What does the winter mean? I am from peoples who knew seasons, there are other peoples who live closer to where the earth doesn't seem to tilt so much. But here, where a seasonal cycle's circle becomes an undulation of infinity over the arc of larger orbits, winter is a significant teacher.

What are winters gifts? Winter is the time of earth, when all other growth is spared and  color is pared down to rock and branch. Brown and black and grey proliferate into a thousand chromal subtleties. Space opens between things, some things sag and some things tighten. The action is all invisible, with roots as superhighways for the churnbuckets of earth. Worms create new life in this womb of the year. Our futures gestate in the fallows of earth and brain.  

We lean into the cold, which reminds us about breathing, re-members in us by cold sensory illumination the constant lung root networks whereby air travels to every cell in the earth of our bodies. Winter turtles us under the carapace of cloud, every sky movement an opportunity for nature divination.

This is a time when silence and subtlety remind us to listen closely, to stay quiet so as not to miss the ten thousand voices of crunch, chirrup, breath. The hands of leaves press onto earth's skin and dissolve into her, leaving traceries of the skeletal structures of love in tannins and resolve. We nourish and tend.

We are not estivators, we upright furless monkeys. We rest deeply, but we stay awake. Earth remembers in us in winter how things are made, the starting point before the forms of birth quicken and expand. We live in the seed and kernel time, taking the dense savings and codes of future growth into our own bodies to replicate possibility.

Winter sheds and leans us, a kind of sensory celebration of the subtle form. We make our own seeds from the orbits of the preceding year's growth and decorate. Is this year more hull or pit, more sunflower or nectarine? Has this been a year to grow exoskeletal protection or a time to strengthen at our core? By following the grooves and patterns of what has passed, in winter we hone and harvest. We design and structure. We incubate and portend.

Still now, listen deep. More rock and gesture of leafless branch. More grinning worm shitting earth. More cold air and spacious. Spare and nurturing. Condensing and revealed. Dissolving and forming. These are winter's gifts of earth.