Thursday, December 22, 2011

Twelve of Them

                             Some say that ever gainst that season comes

                                       Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,

                                       This bird of dawning singeth all night long.

                                       And then they say no spirit dare stir abroad,

                                       No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,

                                       So hallowed and so gracious is the time.

Our Twelfth Month
 A dozen months, a dozen flies. A dozen fish, or a dozen eggs.

 A dozen of this and dozen of that.

 Divisible in twos and threes, fours and sixes--

 Oh, mysterious, powerful, wonderful number Twelve of our lives!

    In Hamlet, Marcellus, stands his freezing watch and, hearing the cock crow, speaks poignantly of  the coming of that December season, " so hallowed  and  so gracious is the time." The Twelfth Month, for all its darkness and potential for despair, is the most sumptuous, the richest, most hallowed and gracious  of all the months. We search its darkness with the brightly colored lights of Advent as though making light were our particular human responsibility. We know that it can't get any darker than December, and that if we can just hang on and survive one more time, light and life will return.

   But now at year's end, we need the rest and restoration that December traditionally offers-- in order to brace ourselves for the next year, that great void looming out there, coming down on us at an ever more furious and terrible pace. The maw of the monster Time demanding to be filled with still more and more of our troubled experience of ourselves.

    In the old days, the Colorado fishing season ended abruptly on Halloween. We put away our tackle with various degrees of ceremony until once again in December, the Solstice would work its way down deep into our genes, getting us restless and thinking of spring. We lusted for holiday gifts of swell new tackle. The long nights found us opening our tackle vests like reliquaries and tinkering away, reading books and catalogs, fantasizing the fish that the next season might bring.

   December lore suggests sanctity, the blessedness of all created things, and the possibility that, when the nights are wholesome, and we listen carefully, we might just hear that Music, most rare, of the Peaceable Kingdom. A spell of grace before the next big push into we know not what.


     A Happy and Saving Christmas to  All

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