Tuesday, February 26, 2008

February (Dar Williams)

February 18, 2008

Mysterious Beginnings
The Necessity Of Winter

As any gardener knows, the bulbs that contain the beautiful flowers of spring and summer—daffodils, irises, tulips, gladiolas—cannot bloom until they have endured a period of cold. Held in the dark earth during the frigid winter months, they undergo internal adjustments and changes invisible to our eyes. Like babies gestating in the lightless, watery wombs of their mothers, they are fully engaged in the process of preparing to be born. So many of the greatest mysteries of life begin this way, with a powerful urge for growth enclosed in a small, dark space.

We humans have a tendency to yearn for the light, for the coming of spring, and for the more visible phase of growth that all things express in coming to be. In our love for what we can see with our eyes we sometimes lose patience for, and interest in, the world of darkness that nurtures and protects the seeds, bulbs, and babies of the world for such an important part of their life cycles. It is a perilous and mysterious phase of growth, and one that we have little control over, and perhaps that is why we don’t celebrate it with quite the same passion as we do the lighter and brighter phases of life. Nevertheless, we ourselves endure similar periods of developing in the darkness throughout our lives.

Meditating on the image of a bulb, a seed, or an embryo, can bring us into alignment with the side of our own natures that is like the earth in winter—seemingly asleep but busily attending to details of growth that create the pattern for the children, flowers, and creative expressions to come. Touching down on this place in ourselves, we may feel at once peaceful and activated, utterly still and yet fully creative, quietly in tune with the dark and mysterious beginnings of life.

It only makes sense to follow Rachel with Dar, especially since the previous song references this one - Dar also wrote Blue Light of the Flame for Rachel after her death.

In a previous post, I've referenced our ritual of End of the Summer cards on the Dar-list - we send February cards as well among those who wish to participate. To quote the e-mail of dear Amy, who has coordinated the project as long as I can remember (thanks, AW!):

Holy cow is it cold outside! So cold, in fact, that I almost missed that February begins on Friday.

That said, it's time for some cards. I don't know about all of you, but I need some mail that isn't a bill.

Here's the deal: twice a year, Dar-listers send each other cards, using "February" and "The End of the Summer" as Dar-centric timing. These cards can be homemade or store-bought - whichever works best for you. They don't have to involve Dar. They're just a way to reach out beyond e-mail.

What you'll do is e-mail me your snail mail address off list, and I'll put everyone in groups. Then I'll e-mail you your list. You'll send cards to your group, and you'll, in turn, receive the same number of cards.

Please, please, please don't forget to send cards. It's not fair to receive and never give. This also holds true for our Dar friends outside of the United States, who sometimes get left out. Yes, it's a bit more postage, but think about how much they're spending to send stuff to the States. Right? Right.

Deadline for addresses shall be Sunday, February 17. I'll have the lists e-mailed by the next day. Hope to hear from many of you!

I've been saving the DailyOm passage (above) to include in my card, as well as some or all of the lyrics to the Jud Caswell song, Up Through the Snow - not yet sure how I'll be decorating my greeting, but that's as much a part of the process as the content.
As Dar sings, "February was so long that it lasted into March" - bring on Saturday!

BOOK: Crocus (Poets Out Loud) by Karin Gottshall

POEM: Planting Crocuses by Wendell Berry

I made an opening
to reach through blind
into time, through
sleep and silence, to new
heat, a new rising,
a yellow flower opening
in the sound of bees.

Deathly was the giving
of that possibility
to a motion of the world
that would bring it
out, bright, in time.

My mind pressing in
through the earth's
dark motion toward
bloom, I thought of you,
glad there is no escape.
It is this we will be
turning and re-
turning to.

QUOTE: "Like a crocus in the snow, I stand knee-deep in Winter holding Springtime in my heart." ~ Joan Walsh Anglund


  1. I am so over February. Like, way over it.

    I need some Susan sunshine in my life, I do believe.

  2. Hey, Amy ~

    Yeah, I'm over February too - believe it or not, we have "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days", even in South Florida!

    All that being said, at least it's not cold - if you can ever manage a long weekend, why don't you come down for a visit? Actually, Ms. Werner is appearing in a friend's house concert series Saturday, March 9 - you spring for the airplane ticket, I'll treat you to the show... :-)