It was the night before solstice and I was ready for a partythe air was cold and the snow was coming, you could tell it was gonna besoon startingthe sky was pink. you could smell the anticipation in the treessnowflakes to grace us with their presence and drape across branches where there once were leaves'tis the season for these sorts of things.
It was the night before the shortest day of the yearchristmas was just around the corner, there was both real and manufactured cheerthe stores...crazyhusbands buying last minute presents for their ladiesfolks hovering over price tags trying to find the savingsand the decorationsthey were waving in the wind from people runnin' through the mall even withkids and babiesthis was the scene and i was busy contemplating.
It was solstice eveit would be christmas in less than one weekpeople fulfilling their good deedsand checking lists to seethat they'd got gifts to meettheir loved ones' needsit was solstice eve and most of folks i spoke with had no ideabut, indeed, the mood was festive, and if Yule wasn't the common incentivethen at least it was well respected as the day we got our sunlight backslowly, but surely, like trains getting going on the tracks.
It was almost christmassoon millions of people would celebrate the coming of their beloved redeemerothers just write wish listssecular christians, haven't been to church since last easterI'm one of those ones, except not evenI haven't been to midnight mass in three years, I hate shopping, and I don't think that my god is jesusI think god is the universe and that's why i observe the turn of the seasonsstill, I do appreciate christmas for some specific reasons:good dinners that are more like feasts and good spirits and good drinksand the high percentage of homes with hosts that offer baked goods and sweetswalnuts and almonds and bowls to crack them over, leave their sheaths.
And I like christmas eveand even though i complain about it, I like to play carols on the piano while aunts and cousins stand around and sing.And i don't feel the need for church except maybe christmas evewhen people pack the room for a midnight gatheringand they dim the lights and I look around at thingscandles burn bright and we unite for 60 minutes or at least 45.
In the midst this i feel refreshed and aliveif not because jesus is with methan simply since this scene is so prettyand i feel completely upliftedevery time i hear someone sing O Holy Nightthe change in key as we all fall on our knees and the organ that drones in behind.
It was almost christmastimeand the beginning of true winter, and the return of the lightit was the night before solstice and there was a pink skysome people were shopping and others watching weather like it was their divine.I decided long ago that as far as faith goes pagan may be minebut I was reminded as I wrote this poem that I still hope the silver bells do chime.
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Tanya Davis is a poet and musician living in Halifax. She is currently working on a new album, to be released in spring 2008, and a collection of poems to be released whenever someone wants to publish them. This is its first time being read, instead of heard.
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