Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Moon

 Calhoun’s Can(n)ons for December 21, 2010

Enough is as good as a feast
            John Heywood

The giant Four o’Clocks think it’s two-fifteen and are starting to fade while others think it’s 6 a.m. and are starting to grow again.  Part of the grape vine on the fence has put its leaves to sleep for a long winter’s nap while the other half thinks its spring and has sprouted out beautiful green leaves. A recent blast of Santa Ana winds drove temperatures past 100 degrees, followed by an unexpected frost that hammered the purple and olive leaves of the Vitex in the front yard, but not those in the back yard. Then it rained and the nasturtium seeds have all awakened in time for a record-breaking December heat wave.

I think my garden’s confused.

I don’t blame it.  It’s been a peculiar year.  And the country is in no better shape than my garden.  It’s not just the hard times, it’s that the hard times are so bizarrely contradictory. Wall Street gamblers are once again rolling in cash while homeless shelters are filled, food banks depleted and states are flat broke.  And budget proposals coming out of state capitols always seem to start their cuts first on the least of us --the old, the sick, the very young and the poor –while recoiling in absolute horror at the suggestion that perhaps relieving a rich man of a bit of his vast wealth might make it easier for him and his camels to get through the eye of the needle and into heaven.  It is a decidedly un-Christian worldview at the heart of a “Christian” nation and one I suspect would give pause to that small, poor child born two thousand years ago in a Bethlehem stable.

Meanwhile, the very people who were crying out loudest for more government help, for a better safety net, voted into office people who do not believe in government help or safety nets. Odder still, while telling pollsters they longed for a government that would compromise and cooperate, they also voted into office a cohort of uncompromising extremists who vowed to dismantle the very government they were elected to become a part of.  That’s like stuffing a wolverine and a Tasmanian Devil into a jar and telling them to play nice. Disconnect. All around me, disconnect. In the garden, in the nation’s capitol, in the heartland. 

Perhaps we all think it’s two-fifteen.  If so, we’re going to be in for a hard, hard winter.

Mother Nature, of course, takes no notice of safety nets or hard times.  Her clockwork is what it is and once set into motion her actions are unstoppable and will have consequences.  Governments fiddle as the earth burns, appointed experts spewing carbon to fly to glittering conferences on global warming to hear encouraging words which become substitutions for taking any substantial action.  There’s a disconnect there, too.  And a sense of helpless drift.  We don’t do anything because doing something would cost somebody money or be too little, too late, or too much bother, or step on somebody’s toes.  And so we wait and do nothing and hope some clever inventor in a garage in Silicone Valley will soon emerge with a magic cost-free, carbon-free, Eternal Energy Machine and we will all be saved.

But he never arrives, so the 500-year snowfalls hit Iowa again, the 100-year floods hit Tennessee again, and Holland starts building its massive sea-gates and sea-walls.  They know what’s coming. 

But on this silent night, the back yard is still and cold, the sky clear, the solstice moon white and pale, its sister star gleaming in the east. I would wish upon that star for peace on earth.  But there’s no evidence of that ever happening. Or whisper a wish that humans across the globe would suddenly connect the dots the way the Dutch have.  Not a chance. It’s getting so that I no longer know what to wish for any more, since a quick run thorough my usual list results in the same answers: No, nope, never happen, as if, no way, nada, zip, zero. Might as well pray that rocks can fly.

So maybe on these holiday nights, instead of wishes or prayers, perhaps it’s enough to just say, Thank You.  Thank you for the confused giant Four o’Clocks, the lovely pale winter moon, for the guardian nutcrackers and holly glowing in the colorful gleam of the Christmas lights.  Thank you for friends and family who will be gathering for a feast, for the feast itself, and for my dogs’ cold noses as they poke my hand in greeting on a new morning, grateful for one more day rising, filled with possibilities.


Bev. De Witt-Moylan said...

Thank you, Ann, for this addition to your repertoire of brilliant holiday pieces. I am sending the link far and wide.

Your holiday Calhoun's Can(n)ons from years gone by about your rescue dog, Brandie, is another unforgettable gem that is worth a reprint here sometime.

Anne R. Allen said...

What a great piece. I'm not sure everybody in the world is feeling as confused as Americans. We have a lot of professional confusers dominating the airwaves. Other countries think we've all gone nuts.

"The very people who were crying out loudest for more government help, for a better safety net, voted into office people who do not believe in government help or safety nets."

...and the poor voted to starve their own children in order to feed billionaires. That's pretty much the definition of disconnect, isn't it?

Alon Perlman said...

A man of few words would just say;.... AMEN

I don't think massive crop failures have quite been figured into the current economic equation. The proof of global warming is in the SCALE of high and low weather perturbations. But we will now have to listen to the “Ha ha -Coldest winter on record- where is your global WARMING now” chirp of the grasshoppers.
Sometimes exhaling out on a cold winter night, and pausing to look at our breath by the available light, till Earth’s shadow shrouds full moon is all we can and should do.

Sandra Gore said...

Well, in spite of it all, I have hope, but no basis for it of course!
It's always been shitty actually for the old, the poor, the unrich, and the unpowerful. We're actually better off than we've ever been - although it doesn't feel like it. Now the climate thing is another story unless we have hidden memories of the ice age. Happy Holidays!

Churadogs said...

"professional confusers." hahaha. Love it. Well, the Dutch, being very, very practical people well familiar with rising seas, are on the case very smartly indeed. So, there's hope . . . if you're dutch.

Happy Holidays to all.

santa clause said...


This is the first time I've dropped in here in a Looooong time and I have to say, I am absolutely and extremely disappointed............

Nice piece Ann. I love your writing and your style.

This is my problem. Insted of just being nice, this piece could have been fantastic.

I guess this is my question and problem...........

How does such a fantastic writer, who by her writings appears to be so intouch with nature and reality, write a December 21, 2010 "winter moon" solstice piece without mentioning and completely ignoring the first winter solstice eclipse in over 450 years which occured on the west coast between 10:30 and 1:30am PST Monday/Tuesday night????????????????

Is anybody home?


Ann's not home.

Ann is shrouded in the same bank of fog that all of us are.......tending to her confused garden....her garden which will be swept away by the fog of her mind and converted into a gentrified jacuzzi condo-plex.

Ann, what metaphores, similies, analogies, regarding our first winter solstice eclipse in 500 years, could you, as such the fantastic writer you are, apply to this winter solstice eclipse to your winter solstice column?

Eyes wide shut.

Alon Perlman said...

Behold the Open Eye who by and by
will drop on by to pomp and preen his winter gloat ,
flip flap flee. Bitten fleece of winter goat,
excise the keen of vented spleen,
extol the call of winter troll,
twisted toe carve live lie squiggles in the sand.

Then quote the Troll “It’s all about me”

They warren out under the rock,
A rusty trap of truth, perhaps it is not.
In a crabby hole a crab forgot
The three, those stirrers of the pot
A bickering bitch’s brew stroked hot
Pitched tar oozes down a cracked crock

Then quote the Troll “It’s all about, we three”

The hungry hungry ego need
The critical cackle of their screed
To flog dominion to their blogs
To trot attention to those internet hogs
To project malfeasance, snare your feet.
Tap to your consciousness, vicariously feast.

Then quote the Ed-Troll “It’s all about; our need for thee”.

And all around Ososville the town people were baking cakes and hanging decorations and carrying about their merry businesses. If you were to mention a bent oaks, they would say “Whoo?”
Naughty Naughty Santa, no Home baked cookie for you.
(but, you can have a store bought one, after all, tis the season)

Bev. De Witt-Moylan said...

Buddha said no matter what you do there will always be criticism.

The piece you wrote is a gem, Ann. The piece you did not write is irrelevant.

The Razor said...

Buddha also said, "All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him."

Ann wrote something that was obviously done with pure thought. The poem written by Mr. Perlman was composed with an evil thought. This holiday season, Let's be thankful for the people whose happiness and thoughtfulness triumphs over evil.


Churadogs said...

Dear Santa. Let's see, if I start now and work 24/7 for the next 1,000 years, I MIGHT be able to write fabulous pieces on the hundreds of thousands of subjects that COULD be written on, but then, after 1,000 years, you'd pop up to whine and complain that I failed to write about this one particular subject, bwaaa-waaaah, as an excuse to point out what an idiot I am, quel out to lunch & etc.

Hate to break it to you, "Santa," but to the larger universe, a 500 year lunar eclipse is as commonplace and/or as rare and miraculous as a December grapevine thinking it's June. It all depends on your choice of focus and your point of view. Each of which is unique to every person.

I've written here often about the "voice" that always comes through loud and clear from "anonymous" posters. To my readers, please read "Santa Clause's" comments carefully. Hear that "voice?"


Alon Perlman said...

Merry Digital Christmas

Ho Ho Ho

M said...

Yes, that voice is yelling as usual.
Sincerely, M