Another year is (almost) dawning as the Christmas season wanes.
At Christmas, we celebrate, among other things, a fresh start for the human race in the person of the Holy Christ Child. So it seems appropriate to me that shortly after we celebrate this fresh start, we also celebrate the fresh start a new year brings us. And there are special songs to help us celebrate these fresh starts. If you are like me, some of these songs have woven their way through my life for many years.
Out in the land behind our Sedona house I found something that always reminds me of the importance of songs and singing in all the seasons of my life. It is a large red rock formation I call "The Singers" because in the rock pillar I see the silhouettes of two faces looking in opposite directions, and they both seem to be singing. They remind me that one can sing in the midst of the opposites of life and death, joy and sorrow, beginnings and endings.
One of my favorite songs is "How Can I Keep from Singing?"
Here are the words:
My life goes on in endless song above earth's lamentation
I hear the real, though far off song, that hails a New Creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife, its voice to me is ringing.
It sounds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?
Whenever I see these singers, especially on a sunrise walk, I imagine they are singing in the New Creation for which this weary world is waiting.
And so am I!
Here is a poem I wrote to go with the picture of The Singers:
This is the season of Advent in the Christian calendar, and is considered the beginning of the new (liturgical) year. The picture above is taken at sunrise, the beginning of a new day.
Both times are apt for making new beginnings of one kind or another in one's life. Especially as we grow older, inertia can set it, and it is all too easy to keep doing the "same old same old"
in our lives. Change challenges us, and offers opportunities for growth, or at least, for
keeping fresh and flexible.
So, in honor of the new liturgical year and new days, I am going to try something new on my blog.
From time to time, I am going to write poetry in my blog, which has been completely in prose so far. I like to think of my poems as shadows of the soul on the landscape of our lives.
To accompany what I write, I will continue posting my pictures. My new thing will be to post pics of art I have done. I was inspired to do this at a recent meeting I attended at a wonderful local bookstore called, aptly, "The Well Read Coyote." The meeting featured a fine local artist, Susan Pitcairn, who has just published a book which pairs pictures of her beautiful paintings with the poems she wrote as she pondered them. Her book is titled "Spirit of the Earth" in case any of you are inclined to order and read it. (Amazon has it)
As I leafed through her book, I realized how powerful the pairing of art and poetry can be.
I decided I would try doing some of this on my blog. I know my art and poetry are those of an amateur, but they are faithful shadows of my soul, and I want a record of those shadows.
If they are authentic, there will be something in them that may speak to your soul, and that is more than enough reason for me to give this a try.
As I pondered the pic I posted of a shadow of me playing the flute at sunrise out in a field near our Sedona house, this is what came to me:
A sunrise shadow--
a moment caught in music
and golden light.
You will notice I will often write a form of poetry called Haiku. It is my favorite poetic form these days. Writing haiku helps me be more aware of moments in each day that speak to my soul---if I am listening. Being in a haiku habit helps me do that.
One book that has helped me get "into" Haiku is Jane Reichhold's book "Writing and Enjoying Haiku." I recommend it to you if have any interest in the subject.
Snow. Sometimes it comes to Sedona. This is what it looks like from our living room window. I have seen lots of pictures of snow from many of you on Facebook! It is beautiful, wherever it happens, at least when it is freshly fallen. It reminds me of Amazing Grace, which covers the sludge on the streets of our lives, and transforms what seems hum-drum and unattractive into something beautiful.
Snow, however, doesn't stick around out here in the desert southwest. It melts away quickly out here in the sunshine that floods the landscape almost every day. White Christmases are uncommon, as they are in a large part of our huge country. Moreover, a great part of our world has never experienced a white Christmas. Still, the images of Christmas linked with winter and snow are dominant.
When it comes right down to it, is there any logic to this, other than the dominance of cultures familiar with snow? Or is there some kind of deeper,
archetypal linkage between the meaning of Christmas and the symbolism of snow and winter? What do you think?