We really must quit meeting like this.
We must quit telling stories blessed freezing winter day after winter day.
But why not tell stories?
The local Anishinabe huddled around campfires in wigwams all winter spinning yarns of Wenabozhoo and the North Wind and bright Nokomis, Grandmother Moon.
Certain stories might only be shared when icicles formed from tears and toes froze in deer moccasins.
Let’s toss another log on the campfire and heat the water for pine needle tea. What, you want coffee? In what century do you live, anyway?
Last night the temperature crept above zero and the forest animals catapulted from their dens and cedar swamps to trek across the snowy land. Tracks crisscrossed each other on the road, dozens of tracks, no hundreds!
Brother Coyote and Sister Deer, Baby Chipmunk and Aunt Squirrel. I suppose, maybe, Grandfather Wolf howled, as well. Some might suspect a Solstice party. Perhaps the woods creatures simply needed exercise after so many frigid nights when they huddled in curled balls attempting to melt snow with furry backsides.
Perhaps the creatures felt hunger gnawing deep in primal bones and hunted prey as a barred owl hooted up above in bare branched trees.
We’ve not known a December this cold and snowy since maybe the 1960’s, a fellow confided to my husband yesterday. Ice creaks and moans and forms on the Huron Bay. Silver-finned trout reflect moonlight from gills, might you imagine?
I’m turning off the comments today so you might hear the forest hush as well. If you linger outside too long icicles shall grow from your fingernails and eyelashes. Snow shall create dens for black bear in your chest. Ravens shall nest in your hair. You’ll be a wood creature before long, wild and free, feral and furry, wearing cedar necklaces, humming the sun toward its Solstice return, beckoning the light.
I can hear you singing now, you snow child, you who have survived all odds to create such marvelous tracks. Throw back your neck and howl! Oh, how sweet the sound of freedom.
Oh, how sweet the Solstice tracks when darkness loses its dark grip on forest hearts and the sun lights our spirits once again.
Only one more week. We have faith, don’t we, in our ancient bones, in the campfire of our bellies, in the stories which promise we shan’t be forsaken?