As hinted at in my last post, this past week has begun a change that I would have expected to be dreadful, but has turned out to give hope that breaking down is also building up (and perhaps "Ecclesiastes" meant that all along). It's no surprise that the situation (about which I'm not yet comfortable being more specific), and its attendant message of a silver lining-and-coating, should arise around the Solstice of what's been a year of piercing upheaval, and often destruction, for most people I know. But the Solstice is also a natural bringer-together of people; an opportunity to rest in the beauty of what-is, and of the special people with whom to share both the beauty and the what-is-ness.
We love each other in my MFA program, the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. At last count, there are three(!) Facebook groups for us, and any time I go into Facebook, the majority of posts in my feed are from RWW-ers. There are several with whom I have a special connection, and we email as frequently as our schedules allow, usually in great depth and length. I am lucky enough to have two RWW alumnae right here in Homer, whom I love and admire and somewhat heroine-worship. But otherwise, the fact remains that Facebook and email contact is not the same as face-to-face sharing of air. I know. I'm telling you something really surprising.
So what a treat it was that Meagan, who now lives in Olympia but was raised in Soldotna (just 72 miles north of Homer, a third of the way to Anchorage), came home for the Holidays!I broke my journey in Soldotna and stayed over (thanks again to her so gracious parents); her dad took a look at the Warthog's barely functioning radiator (having noted how cold my hand was on the initial handshake!); her mom ensured I slept cozy and peaceful; I got to meet her beautiful daughter...it felt special to laugh so hard with people whom I'd never met before, the family of someone I wish I could see more often.
Special, also, to hike the beach at Kenai, the lunar landscape with 3pm alpenglow of sun sinking in the south, being with Meagan as she exclaimed in excitement, awe, fascination--variations of "Wow, this is so cool! This is so beautiful! Unique!" The sea ice with its various textures, its flattened snowflakes like feathers a cell thick, its texturing with pools and ponds frozen just as solid as the rest but with a translucency like an observatory, really is a poem-puller.
There is something so elemental about it. The temperatures were hovering from 3-9 degrees above zero, depending on which thermometer you were looking at (this morning, Anchorage at 16 degrees feels balmy by comparison). And yet it still seemed perfectly natural to lie down on this ice rock, to be against the earth's extra skin.
But even with two coats and many other layers on, that was still a rapid chill!
With gratitude and best intentions for this Solstice...