Art, Poetry, Music, and Nature for the New Year
Saturday, January 16 2021
The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Winter is hard. This essay excerpt by Barry Lopez meets us in that winter struggle, and his reflection from the frozen tundra of the Arctic reminds us just how mild Chicago winters are, comparatively.
“In the middle of summer, lying on my back on the warm tundra, I would think about winter, because the summer by itself was so peaceful and I was trying to understand how the whole landscape fit together. Winter, with its iron indifference, its terrible weight, explained the ecstasy of summer. The effects of winter were disquieting to contemplate. Not the cold, though that could make you whimper with pain; it could, they say, make rocks give up and shatter. Not the cold but the oppression. The darkness that came down. The winter wind that picked up a boat in a village and pitchpoled it across the frozen beach, as if darkly mad…. Winter darkness shuts off the far view. The cold drives you deeper into your clothing, muscles you back into your home. Even the mind retreats into itself…. Winter darkness brings on the extreme winter depression the Polar Eskimo call perlerorneq. According to the anthropologist Malaurie, the word means to feel ‘the weight of life.’ To look ahead to all that must be accomplished and to retreat to the present feeling defeated, weary before starting, a core of anger, a miserable sadness…. Winter always comes. You try to get a feeling for the proportions of a full life, one that confronts everything.”
When we are weary, angry, sad, feeling defeated and shut off, may we find strength, renewal, warmth, patience and peace in you, O God. Amen