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Benediction for the Year

Flickr Creative Commons user Madeleine_

Bill Felker shares a poem for Winter Solstice. 

One season always leads to the next.
Each phase of the year is a promise of the phase to come
and a repetition of a previous phase, a sure turn of the
unbreakable cycle of the year.
The most difficult thing for me in winter is to stay where I
am and to keep from looking ahead into spring.
It is hard to hold steady, and to accept the bare tangle of
branches, the soft secrecy of the buds, the sleek cones of the
catkins, which perfectly contain both birth and death.
It is hard to remain in place in the certainty of
these things here and
now: the cold river, the crisp wind, the finite sky, the
everlasting bouquets of spent flowers, the darkening hulls
of black walnuts and Osage fruits,
the settling leaves, the low sun,
Orion in the night, the mornings without birdsong, the
falling seeds of the winterberry, the fallen bittersweet
and honeysuckle berries, not seeing past the horizon,
not finding God-to-come, free from the need for summer,
self-sufficient, knowing that the center is here as well as
there, in this tight and impeccable close, as well as in the
far green paradise of June.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.