Saturday, 21 December 2013

Balance, Grace, and Snowlight

Attended a Solstice night celebration last night. A marvellous group of people, most of whom I didn't know. We were asked to bring a poem or other share about where we are now in our lives, what we'd like to leave behind ... you get the idea. It was beautiful! Solstice was explained. Elizabeth told with passion the story of Demeter, Persephone and Hades  - and how our seasons came to be according to Greek myth. There was guitar music, drumming, candle-lighting, one person sang O Holy Night in a deep, vibrating voice and I felt I'd never heard it before. Everyone had a pomegranate at her (mostly - there were two men) place to take home. Such a potluck feast. Such a night of grace.

This is my poem - it had been simmering inside, but I didn't have time to write it until I had completed the liturgy for Christmas Eve, sent it to the printer's, picked it up, two other errands - cat food from the vet's would be top of the list of necessaries Annie 'n Maggie would say ... so - it's a work in progress... 

I’m regaining – or maybe gaining balance.
Physically, I lost it with sciatica.
Emotionally, from childhood, I walked a tightrope in terror 
that if I stepped a cm out of line, 
God’d get me like he did my brother
Waiting, afraid at every pinch or twinge that the cancer had returned
sneaky, undetectable until it is too late.
Overwhelmed with work –
Building Mile End Mission from nearly scratch
Guiding our little parish
through conflict, racism, insecurity about our future – do we have one?

And now … partially retired, concentrating on our parish, genealogy, and writing ...

New life
Hard work claiming and re-claiming
I’ve traded the Mouse (a lie - though she's still part of me) 
for Tiger Ros
and speak, 
even when my voice shakes
as the saying goes

Searching for roots 
Black and Pequot slaves in Bermuda and relatives of every shade
Generations of our history in ground and above

Grandpa Mac who, so the story went, died in Uruguay in 1923
but died in 1954 in London 
a product of rigid and harsh Covenanter-type Presbyterians

I found him 
a scoundrel, and an interesting man of many mysteries
lost in the secrets and in the lies we believed.
Margaret, his daughter we knew nothing of, 
is my friend and fellow sleuth.
I wish I could tell my Dad I found his father.

I find myself connected to people who struggled
with what it means to be human in our family.
We’ve lived and loved and lost and messed up.

George Bernard Shaw  said, 
“If you can’t get rid of the skeleton in your closet,
you’d best teach it to Dance.”
I’m dancing with my skeletons
and writing a book:
Maybe called “Grandpa Didn’t Die in Uruguay.”

Since my breakdown in ‘75,
(now I call it a breakthrough)
I’ve chosen, 
cautiously at first and for a very long time, 
to climb out of the Pit     
Live the life I’ve been given
Face my terrors
Confront the lies
Embrace the challenges
Learn to love and be loved
Walk in snow-light
Return to the contemplative I am
and was as a nun in my prior life
and, energized, reach out with passion and compassion
wearing mis-matched, multi-coloured socks.

Advent - my favourite time of year. Hope. Expectation. Peace in the midst of the rush. I had a clean-up day again. Some people seem (am I wrong?) to be able to keep their homes neat and tidy all the time. I don't know - papers and stuff multiply while I'm asleep. I think they move around, too. I still haven't found my keys that I put in a safe place before going away last summer. Are some people naturally organized? Is it the INFP in me? Ah well, now is an opportunity to slow down, to breathe, do my physio exercises, read, prepare ... and I'm not in a hurry for Christmas. Advent is here. Now. I love it. Snowlight is a bonus for which I'm so very, very thankful. It lights up my heart. Grace.

Last evening, (December 14) we celebrated at our little church with an Advent service and Christmas Carols, a potluck supper (a feast) and talent sharing. We tidied up a little early and made sure everyone had a drive home in the -17C with a wind chill factor of about -30C. It has begun to snow lightly, the roads were exceedingly slippery, so we just took our time and chatted, laughed, and enjoyed the Christmas lights. Raucous laughter when I stopped at a corner and waited for a non-existent traffic light to change. I wonder how long it would've been before someone told me to wake up. 

This morning, the world was magically white. Joy! Soft, fluffy flakes - a marshmallow hat about 15cm deep on the small round table on the front verandah. I went for a walk and took photos and breathed in the peace and silence. Tonight - we have about 35cm and counting ... the snow is piled high as I remember it as a child - everyone shovelled it into the streets. Where else could it go? 

Tonight it's snowlight. Soft. Sparkling. Christmas lights on houses. Car swuffing quietly and for the most part, slowly. Sidewalks plowed. People standing in their windows gazing out at the exquisiteness of it all. I waved at them and they waved back. :-) Others were out shovelling and clearing off their cars. If it hadn't already been written, I'd do it - I feel a song coming on ... "What a wonderful world."

Tattered but standing - snow on my car.
This is how I find the car in parking lots while supporting the Habs, of course!

Stairs untrampled
More stairs untrampled and snowy hats. Heavyseges' old home.

Fluffy marshmallows
My home - upstairs

Ruby and Hughie's old home

Ruby and Hughie's at night

I need to figure out night camera - but it's still beautiful

Salettes' old house - a place of unhappy secrets, ghosts, and memories.

And more magic


  1. Today (22nd) as I write....sun is shining through the window in Liverpool and I cannot see this screen properly. It is a beautiful day even though it is somewhat snow in sight though!!! Hope you have a lovely Christmas and a healthy new year. Take care when you go out and thank you for the memories.