a possibility nonetheless

Posted by on January 2, 2013

After the bitter nights
and the gray, cold days
comes a bright afternoon.
I go into the creek valley
and there are the horses, the black
and the white, lying in the warm
shine on a bed of dry hay.
They lie side by side,
identically posed as a painter
might imagine them:
heads up, ears and eyes
alert. They are beautiful in the light
and in the warmth happy. Such
harmonies are rare. This is
not the way the world
is. It is a possibility
nonetheless deeply seeded
within the world. It is
the way the world sometimes is.

by Wendell Berry

* * *

I am not a farm person, and definitely cannot claim to be a horse person, but I love the image put forth in this poem and understand the perspective– the way it feels to encounter blessing and harmony and be struck by the sheer chance of it, simultaneously aware of how special it is and how counter to the proven laws of the universe, in which things are moving not toward order, but chaos.

I missed posting last week because Christmas has been so busy (which is a good thing) and almost again today for the same reason. We have old friends here visiting. Our house is full of the energy of four small children, playing constantly. Before that Jeff’s parents were here and that was fun and busy too. The girls are out of school and there is no routine to speak of. By the time our routine returns next week, I will be very ready for it. We have been ice skating; we had fondue on New Year’s Eve. Esme got her American Girl doll; Elsa got the stuffed pink penguin that she has been asking for since June, and a big play kitchen as well. We have built a lot of fires in our fire place. Now you can see why the word “blessed” feels like the only possible word choice.

The other side of all of this time of life is that I have not been a very internally oriented person. I have not been writing much–probably because I have not been thinking much, or needing to think much. That is nice, I admit, but during times like this I also miss the inner life and wonder when it will return to me. In any case, I am making an effort right now to post a poem today because it is the beginning of a new year. I am not a big New Year person. I have never once made a single New Year resolution. But this year I do find myself reflecting on the past year as a unit of my life and feel a little in awe of all that has taken place since just last January. So much happened in 2012. I do not really consult zodiacs, Chinese or otherwise, but it nevertheless does not surprise me to learn that 2012 is the year of the dragon on the Chinese calendar. And yet, although it came in like a lion for us in many ways, it seems to be going out like a lamb. This last little bit of 2012– the season stretching from Thanksgiving to Christmas– was, for us, blessed. I know that is a worn-out Hallmark word, but there is really no other adequate one.

The world is full of dragons and some years the dragon gets pride of place but then sometimes on the very next hill you stumble upon a lion lying down, unbelievably, with a lamb. Sometimes you go out to gather winter fuel and find yourself being stalked by Old King Wenceslas. That rich old king is on a personal quest to shower your household with nice things, and all you can do is look over your shoulder at his footprints steaming in the snow and wonder what you did to deserve it. What are the chances? But it does happen sometimes in this world.

I think for the first year ever I am going to write down some sort of New Year resolution. It probably will not be a list, but maybe an essay– maybe just some thoughts thrown into a Word document on my computer. It is never too late to try one’s hand at being a goal-oriented person. It will be interesting to read it next January, assuming that I will arrive safely at next January.

I also just want to say, to anyone who regularly reads my blog: thank you. It means a lot to me. I want to wish you, along with all of my family and friends who mean so much to me, a peaceful and blessed year from my heart.

Poetry Wednesday

Posted in: Poetry Wednesday
  1. Madeleine Stokes
    January 4, 2013

    I see that you are well versed both in matters of Orthodox theology as well as fantastic writers such as Wendell Berry. 🙂 I share both loves myself. Blessings to you, fellow blogger in your noble endeavors!

    Peace –

  2. annajouj
    January 12, 2013

    This is lovely, Julia. Last night I was complaining to a friend that I was restless with Americana, and with rushing about but not using my creative gifts like I've been spoiled to be able to use at work. Thanks for the reminder to claim the possibility of peace. Miss you.

  3. annajouj
    January 22, 2013

    This is lovely, Julia. Last night I was complaining to a friend that I was restless with Americana, and with rushing about but not using my creative gifts like I've been spoiled to be able to use at work. Thanks for the reminder to claim the possibility of peace. Miss you.