Monday, November 24, 2008

On Edge

A strange and liminal time of the year is this, for the old Celtic year has passed away, and we stand on the edge of a new year, a chilling contraption of frozen earth, short days, darkness, ice and wind.

The storm tossed highlands seem empty in November. The birds have departed for warmer climes, most of our wild northern residents are in hibernation, the fertile earth and her life giving waters are freezing up, even as we watch.

November always seems chthonic to me, that lovely word springing from the Greek khthonios, meaning "of the earth" and usually employed in describing deities of the underworld and subterranean matters.

When we use the word chthonic to describe something, we are focusing on that which lies deeper or within the earth, rather than what lies on the surface. Implicit in the adjective are notions of rest, sleep, fertility and rebirth - mortality and abundance coexisting and and enfolding each other in a deep embrace.

And so it is that I find myself in the usual thoughtful November frame of mind, piling up books on the old oak library table for the long winter nights ahead and drinking tea, watching flames dance in the fireplace with chin in hand, and pondering next year's garden, thinking for some strange reason of how wild and magnificent the cold north shore of Lake Superior is at this time of year. Perhaps I should have been named Persephone.


Anonymous said...

Such beautiful words and image.

Livia Indica said...

Wow, just gorgeous!

Bovey Belle said...

What lovely words. At this time of year, nature seems closer to us, without the trappings of summer. On a walk today, the first promises of spring in tiny catkin buds. The shortest day is not so far away.

Anonymous said...

I too have been caught by the odd, in-between-ness of this time between Samhain and the solstice. Thank you for drawing us deep into this November earth and sharing your cozy, frost kissed wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Your writing is so beautiful, I felt like I was with you, seeing and feeling. You have a very special talent.

Deborah Carr said...

A beautiful image. November is most certainly a month for reflection, slowing down, gathering books and tea cups. What if we never took time to daydream?