How to Love Winter

Happy winter solstice!  Today is the shortest day of the year, meaning its night is the longest, giving us more darkness, stillness, and reflection.  Call me Om Dork, but I love reflecting on poetry, especially during the winter months, so I’m sharing a current favorite that I think captures the season.

Maybe it’s because the poet is from Cape Cod, like me, and I can imagine her walking along a frigid beach, collecting shells and studying the icy water, seaweed, and stones being scattered by the waves.  Maybe it’s the reference to being rich in a way that has nothing to do with money.  Or, the poem’s cadence, which I hear as ebbing and flowing, rushing and gushing, like the ocean itself.

Whatever it is; I love this poem and– by extension– winter doesn’t seem so bad either.  Read it and try not to love winter, just a oui little bit, today.

Photo: A wintry Cape Cod beach, the day after Thanksgiving, 2010.

Winter

by Mary Oliver

And the waves
gush pearls
from their snowy throats
as they come
leaping
over the moss-green,
black-green,
glass-green roughage—
as they crumble
on the incline
scattering
whatever they carry
in their invisible
and motherly
hands:
stones,
seaweed,
mussels,
icy and plump
with waled shells,
waiting
for the gatherers
who come flying
on their long white wings—
who comes walking,
who comes muttering:
thank you,
old dainties,
dark wreckage,
coins of the sea
in my pockets
and plenty for the gulls
and the wind still pounding
and the sea still streaming in like a mother wild with gifts—
in this world I am as rich
as I need to be.

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  • Sara

    What a beautiful poem Rebecca.

    You’ve introduced me to Vimalar Thakar and Mary Oliver, thank you.

    Wish you lived in Sydney Australia.

    I think your awesome!

    • omgal

      Aren’t they both wonderful? Do you have Thakar’s “The Eloquence of Living” yet? It’s simply exquisite. Small, too. You’ll finish it in a day or two. I’m honored to have an Aussie audience. Thank you so much for reading. Hopefully, I’ll make it to Sydney some day!

      • Sara

        Thanks for responding!! Funnily enough, I bought the Eloquence of Living after you recommended it in your post of recommended reading a few months ago. I found a second hand one available, which I carry around with me.

        I have just finished a Hatha Yoga Teacher Training this year and so I saw she had written another book called Glimpses of Raja Yoga and ordered it. Its quite intense, so its a slow read but its got some wonderful gems in it.

        Have you read that one?

        I am a dedicated reader of your blog, all the way over here where its 38 degrees, hot and sunny. Sydney is great, so much yoga to choose from. From what I can read about you and your interests, I think you would love it.

        New Zealand has a wonderful yoga teacher called Donna Farhi. She has a great booked called Bringing Yoga to Life. Its a great book, its available on Amazon.

        Have a beautiful Christmas.

        Sara x

  • Feelix

    All our lives wash up on each others shores. The rolling waves are always so calming. Sandy beaches jyst shine brighter,

    Any season that has the word win in it must be fun.

    We are all so lucky to be part of this.

    Much love and joy to all on this day, Winter and our next.

    May the Day Be Well
    May the day be well and the night be well.
    May the midday hour bring happiness too.
    In every minute and every second,
    may the day and night be well
    by the blessing of the Triple Gem,
    may all things be protected and safe.

    May all beings born in each of the four ways
    live in a land of purity.
    May all in the Three Realms be born upon lotus thrones.
    May countless wondering souls
    realize the three virtuous positions of the Bodhisattva Path.
    May all living beings, with grace and ease
    fulfill the Bodhisattva stages.

    The countenance of the World-Honored one, like the full moon
    or like the orb of the sun, shines with the light of clarity.
    A halo of wisdom spreads in every direction,
    enveloping all with love and compassion,
    joy and equanimity.

    Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya.
    Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya.
    Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya.

    [Translation: Homage to the Buddha)

    Definitions
    •Triple Gem: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha
    •Four Ways: People, animals, plants, minerals
    •Three realms: Desire realm, form realm, formless realm
    •Bodhisattva stages: A bodhisattva’s progress is determined by his practice of the six perfections (pāramitās) which are: generosity and morality; patience and diligent effort; meditation and wisdom