Winter Eyrie: “A Night Not All Unwelcome” by Jesse Baker

When I invited fellow artists in the Habit online community to do a creative collaboration with me, I gave them the following prompt:

  • Explore the theme of “Winter Eyrie,” centering on the concept of an eagle’s nest in the heights, or a house/fortress on a hill or mountain. In any form or genre, describe a place like an eyrie: a refuge, nest, stronghold, haven, or citadel: a place which feels completely safe and at peace, especially if the outer world is confusing or scary.
  • Challenge: Try a form, method, or angle you haven’t tried before, such as a new poetic meter or prose style.

I’ll publish the work of writers who joined in throughout March. I’m looking forward to seeing how this creative play reenchants this late-winter season.

The first contribution is a poem by Jesse Baker – a meditation on a winter night. Enjoy!

Intro by Jesse Baker

I recently read Mary Oliver’s book Rules for the Dance for the first time. I have an attraction to metered poetry, and always wanting to learn more about the topic, I followed a friend’s advice to read it. Though there is so much good information in the book, surprisingly what most captured my attention did not deal with meter at all. Instead, it was her chapter titled “Image-Making.” Oliver naturally included topics like simile and metaphor, but she also spent some time on poems which do not use much imagery within themselves; rather, the poem itself is the image. (If you are curious, the main example Oliver used to discuss the matter was Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”) I was intrigued by this idea, so I decided to give it a try. One ironic feature in this experiment, both given my temperament and the subject of Oliver’s book, was that I decided to break from my usual path of meter in order to try something in free verse.

A Night Not All Unwelcome

by Jesse Baker
Photo by Kym MacKinnon on Unsplash

Last night, amid the darkness,
I briefly stepped outside
To undo something forgotten;
And, the full February moon,
Standing alone in the pitched sky,
Begged for my attention.
She reminded me of childhood
Nights, and how I would borrow
Her light as I walked to our
Chicken house, nestled in the trees
Down a darkened and wooded road,
To gather hen eggs.
She also brought to mind the
Wonder of those nights when
Her full light glimmered
Off the earth’s snowy blanket,
Gently placed over previous days,
Giving me both a brighter path to tread and
Some glimpse of what the psalmist
Might have meant when he said, “The night is as
Bright as the day,” to you.

I had the picture of the full moon shining off snow in my mind for a while. It really was a marvelous sight when I was younger, one of the many gifts that came with growing up in the mountains of West Virginia. Now living in central North Carolina, some heretofore unknown alignment of stars would have to meet before I am likely to see that snowy miracle again. But the moon I encountered a couple weeks ago, the one that sent me inside to put something on paper, almost made up for it. This scene assured me that on dark nights, whether an actual dark winter night in February or even the occasional dark night of the soul, hope can still be found. There was an element of lament in writing this poem. It is not an accident that it ends with a quote from the Psalms, as I hoped, like many of the lament psalms, even in dark moments praise can still be the last word to roll off our tongues.

Jesse Baker

Jesse Baker loves wearing t-shirts of his favorite authors, studying the Bible, and using poetry as a way of tying the seemingly disparate features of this world together. Jesse is a pastor, living in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.

The Magic of Late Winter, Part VII: Guest Post by Elizabeth Giger

When the wheel of the year turned towards March, I expected storms, sleet, slush, and long gray days that seemed to last centuries. Instead, I received warm, golden days, cool rain and bright snow, and a global storm that made the month spin by like a pinwheel. When Elizabeth Giger first presented this beautiful contribution to my Magic of Late Winter series in late February, neither of us knew how perfectly it would fit these strange, turbulent times.

Elizabeth Giger is another writer-friend from The Habit community whose writing style has the sweet, profound clarity of a church bell ringing. Her work reminds me that in Christ, joy, hope, and truth are all one reality. Enjoy!

The Reality of Spring

Text and pictures by Elizabeth Giger


All of creation conspires to teach us what is real. When God created, He carefully crafted the laws of nature to point toward reality.

Every growing seed points to the reality that we must die in order to bear fruit. Every autumn leaf points to the reality that in dying to ourselves, our true colors burst forth. Every new birth points to the reality that new life comes only after great labor pains.

All of creation shouts out God’s beautiful reality.

Today, as I look out the window on a day at the end of March and see this:

I am considering the reality that when the calendar says it is spring, when the crocus first peeps up from the ground, it is truly spring, even when it still feels like winter.

It still feels like winter in my own little world. The snows still hush the sounds outside my window. The skies still hold that steely winter-gray. There is even a certain smell that comes with the cold and the stilling of growth.

It still feels like winter in our larger world. As refugees stream out of war-torn countries, as friends fight deadly diseases, as families continue to grieve beloved ones who have died, it still feels like winter to me.

And yet.

I sit here on a Monday in March, contemplating the Holy Week that is coming soon:

The road into Jerusalem which led to the giving of bread and wine, a desperate prayer in a garden, the cross. The ghastliness of Holy Saturday and the knowledge that God was dead.

And then.

A weighty boulder moved easy like a feather. An angel wondering at anyone presuming to find Jesus in a tomb. A familiar voice: Mary.




And suddenly I understand what I am truly seeing out of my window on this day at the end of March, when the crocuses have peeped out their heads and yet snow lays heavy on the ground.

Spring is here.

It requires that I open my eyes to see what is really there. It requires stooping low to the earth. It requires being still.

It is the same reality that we see all around us in our larger world when we open our eyes, stoop low, and be still. The reality that the tide has turned, that despite the battle raging all around, the war has ended and God’s Spirit is little by little warming the air and thawing our hearts.

How can we be sure that God’s kingdom truly has come? How can we be sure that God has won the war and decisively defeated sin and death when we still see sin and death raging all around us?

The resurrection is our confirmation.

Yes, it may still feel like winter all around,

but the resurrection is our crocus.

Spring is really here.

Picture of Elizabeth Giger

Elizabeth Giger

Elizabeth is a writer and musician, writing weekly at She holds a Certificate of Spiritual Formation from Lincoln Christian University. She also loves photography and art and enjoys weaving together words with visual art on her blog to create something new. She is a wife to her logical, programmer husband, a mother to four intense, warrior girls, a homeschooler, and a midwest girl who loves the sight of golden fields stretching to the horizon. She neglects housework in favor of reading as many books as she can get her hands on and loves to travel the world.