It is snowing at Writer’s Rest, and the first snow of the season has started to fall for real in southwestern Pennsylvania, which is being sideswiped by the big storm in the Midwest that is heading to Canada. This often happens to us. We are far enough west to catch the storms that brew out there while being far enough east to avoid direct hits at least most of the time.
Yesterday the rain was positively biblical. Torrents, buckets, wind whipping. If I were the kind of fool who believed the end of the world was imminent, I would have taken that fury for a sign. I was grateful to be under a roof that did not leak because it was easy to imagine how it was to be out in that wild world last night.
(The internet connection did not go out, though it was reasonable to think it might. People who fantasize about a bodiless existence in cyberspace forget that the internet exists in the same world we do, with the weather and all.)
It’s time to be grateful for heat, shelter, and comfort, rather than assume these things are our rights. I have some beeswax candles in the freezer. It’s time to light one.
This time of year I feel the exact opposite of the way I am supposed to feel. I don’t mean melancholy (though melancholy is a part of it — one reason A Charlie Brown Christmas is popular year after year). I mean wanting to be quiet. It is a dark month in a dark season. For many thousands of years before Christianity, people fought against it by celebrating the return of the light.
Now there are Christmas trees and festivals of light, and decorations. These are new forms for a very old celebration.
Images of Christmas and Yule feature snow, which quiets the landscape and makes travel difficult or impossible. That is a hard bad thing for people traveling but a rich thing for the rest of us and for the travelers, too, when they get where they are going. The warmth inside and cold outside inspire contemplation and rest. And both those things are right.
I have a primitive relationship to the Yule season.
What quiet times define the season for you?