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Solstice 1973

I posted this a few years ago – decided to share it again

Solstice 1973

I have already written here about this time.  It was the winter my first family split apart.  After a couple of months I found a place for us to live. It was a tiny studio up a rickety flight of old stairs.

There was no heat except the small gas oven and we had almost no furniture – a bed, a table, three chairs, an old dresser and a lamp.  Money was tight, and I had no idea how I was going to make a Christmas for my two little ones (5 & 3).

I hit the thrift stores and scrounged the “free-boxes” that were a curbside fixture of Berkeley in those days.  Somehow I managed to pull together a few things that I could wrap and “Santa” could deliver.

Then we went out and bought a tiny green tree – maybe 2 feet tall.  But I had no ornaments and no money to buy any.  So, I took what money I had and bought thread, some crayons, a bag of cranberries and some popcorn.  I “liberated” some colored paper and a pair of scissors from work; and we set out to decorate our tree.

The kids drew ornaments and colored them in.  I popped the corn and we strung it and the berries on the thread.  Add in some bent paper clips (also “liberated”) for hangers and we had our tree.

It was no Martha Stewart tree –but it was beautiful to me – a symbol of real hope at a time when I desperately needed one.

In the midst of a dark time, it was a promise that better things would come.

Six rules for a Solstice Song

It must speak of light,
the warm light of candles, the glow of stars on snow
and wonder in children’s eyes.

There can, of course, be mention of the darkness;
the long Winter nights;
But, in the end, the light must triumph
and the dark surrender.

Its essence must be green
not the easy green of Summer’s endless days
but the dark, stoic green of pines and firs in snow;

The evergreen promise assuring us the world
has not truly died
A pledge that the rich, fresh green of budding
leaves will come again.

There should be feasting with family and friends
round cheerful fires

and nights filled with joy and song
to strengthen us for the long, lean times to come

Weave in an echo of older days that,
when viewed through nostalgia’s kinder eyes,
take on a glow of richness and wonder they never
wore when they were Now.

Add in a sprinkling of new birth,
a baby or a lamb to remind us that
every ending makes way for new beginnings.

But most of all it must offer hope;
that in spite of all we learned of pain and sorrow
through all the years that came before;
the coming spring will mark the dawn
of those fabled days when life will be
all we feel in our hearts it could be.


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