The Magic of Late Winter, Part I: Guest Post by Kimberly Margaret Miller

Mug in a bright window.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As I posted about last year, late February through March are usually the hardest time of year for me: the glitter of the holidays is long gone, the snow turns to slush, and New England is a mess of gray fog and ice storms. Crocuses and warm winds take a long time to arrive.

This year, however, my own writing and engagement on The Habit (an online writing community) have reminded that me that I live in a world of wonders created by an almighty God, and my art gives me the power to perceive and create beauty in the grayest places.

Some of my favorite writers have already done the work of re-enchanting this season, transforming it from depressing to mysteriously beautiful: Emily Bronte in Wuthering Heights, James Hogg in Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Seamus Heaney in “Glanmore Sonnets,” and others.

So I want to approach this late winter season with a spirit of joy and wonder. This blog series will explore the magic of late winter and very early spring: pearl-gray skies, silver-white ice on the dark surface of ponds, rain-speckled snow, damp winds that spread the smell of wet soil, rain-speckled snow, birdsong on misty mornings.

For this project, I’m partnering with some wonderful writer-friends from The Habit, as I did last Thanksgiving. First, Kimberly Margaret Miller graciously let me repost this exquisite poem from her blog, a meditation on winter sunlight. Kim lives in the deep South, which doesn’t usually receive heavy snows, but can be gloomy with “short days, barren trees, and overcast skies.” 

This poem originally appeared on Kimberly’s blog.

Winter Sun

Your beams stretch,
            Arms beckoning,
a final embrace as you bid adieu.
Reaching, leaning, tilting
                        You scatter color
across the bleak horizon.
Then you are gone.
            Longing fills.
                        Cold darkness envelopes.
                                    I forget.

My alarm pulses.
            Shuffling through routine with half open eyes,
                        Morning tea in hand,
I pull back the curtain.
I wasn’t looking for you,
                        But there you are.
                                    Waiting for me to behold.
                                                Your quiet grandeur
whispered in hues of pink and purple.
                        I stand and listen with rapt attention.                                   
And suddenly, I awake.

Leash in hand, I walk Curiosity—
            The chase is on.
                        Weaving through bare trees
you pursue,
                                    Streaming brilliance.
        Stopping in my tracks,
I think of night.
                                  And already I miss you.

Your arms stretch,
            Across beams,
no final embrace as you bid adieu.
Reaching, leaning, tilting
            You scatter crimson
across bleakness within.
Then night comes.
            Longing fills.
                        Cold darkness envelopes.
                                    I forget.

My hunger craves.
            I shuffle through my days with half-open eyes.
You pull back the curtain.
I am not looking for you,
                                    But there you are,
                                                Waiting for me to behold.
                                                            Your quiet grandeur
whispers in hues of love and peace.
                I stand and listen with rapt attention.
                              And suddenly, I awaken.

The Day is at hand, I walk forward.
            The chase is on.
                        Weaving through barren places
you pursue,
                                                Streaming brilliance.
            Stopping in my tracks,
I think of night.
                                    And already I know
You will never leave.

Picture of Kimberly Margaret Miller

Kimberly M. Miller is a writer, wife of 28 years, mother to four children, and granna to one amazing little boy. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 1991 from Mississippi University for Women where she served as editor of The Spectator for two years. Kim’s writing has ranged from advertising copy and press releases to short stories and essays. Since retiring from 24 years as a homeschool mom, she’s devoted her time to honing the craft of fiction writing. Her current work-in-progress is a historical novel set in Mississippi in 1834.

Three Thanksgiving Meditations

Here is part two of the creative project I posted about yesterdayElizabeth Giger, Bethany Sanders, and I wrote poems to meditate on thankfulness, giving thanks in times of suffering, and our personal thanksgiving. In writing these, we each tried something new:

  • Elizabeth Giger wrote a lovely meditation using a series of contrasts both within the language used and the number of stanzas chosen.
  • Bethany Sanders wrote from a new perspective, incorporating Biblical and natural imagery.
  • I tried a rondeau, a French verse form with a refrain and a specific stanza and rhyme scheme.

Enjoy!

Woods filled with soft light on yellow and green leaves.

Thanksgiving

by Elizabeth Giger

Thanks be in the shimmering and shining,
In the comforted and cherished,
In the bright and the beauty.

Thanks be in the lovely and loved,
In warmth and wholeness,
In joy and justice.

And in the dark and doubt,
In the sinking and sorrowing,
In the broken and the bent?

And in the murk and the mire,
In the unknown and unfulfilled,
In the loss and in lament?

Where is the thanks in these?

It is in hope and help,
In peace and provision,
In love and liberty.

It is in the Spirit and salvation,
In the cross and cleansing,
In restoration and renewal.

Thanks be in the lovely and ugly,
In the dancing and mourning,
In the feast and in hunger.

Thanks be in the rich-robed and sackcloth,
In the surrounded and the lonely,
In the made-new and the shattered.

This is our sacrifice of praise.

Thanks be in all things.

To read more of Elizabeth’s writing, visit her blog, Made Sacred.

Sparrow's nest.

House Sparrow

by Bethany Sanders

Look there! A strip of paper.
Sun-bleached and frayed,
but soft as the edge of a feather.
I wing back to the house eave
with the paper rustling against
my shoulder as it ribbons in the wind.
Another lining for the nest.

This spring I weave by myself.
My mate and I sang with the flock
Until a shadow glided between us.
Hawk! Scatter-scatter-scatter!
But then she never returned.
Creator, remember us,
lest we fall alone.

The house eave is quiet and dry.
In here is the whorl of my nest.
I prick at the brim of the nest’s bowl,
then snake the paper into the weave.
Pluck here, tug there, hem the edge.
I sit. Warm and soft. Come time,
my future brood will be secure.

To see more of Bethany Sanders’s work, see her online webcomic, The Pelkern Cycle.

Golden sunlight on November trees.

Remaker

by me (Alicia Pollard)

You are the God who remade me
Through silent days when the earth turned slowly,
When cubicle-caves were empty and gray,
And pale screens replaced the light of day,
In two years of waiting, longing to be free.

Through two iron winters, you sent sparks of glory:
Laughter at the hearthfire, deep talks over coffee.
You gave me dreams like the northern lights at play;
You are the God who remade me.

Golden lake-days, musings in that silver valley,
Nights of exile, wondering who you called me to be:
You kindled a blaze that burned my thorn-hedge away
And grew wildflowers where the ashes lay.
In that green country and the tower by the sea
You are the God who remade me.