Alban Arthan: The Light of Winter

The forest is hushed, yet the green of the evergreens is not muted; brilliant red berries provide stunning contrast, and even in the deciduous forests one can see the swell of buds – just beginning, to be sure – that will bear stem and leaf in the spring. The slant of the sunlight is a different light than the bright focus of summer, showing nuance and perspective that might have been missed then. And over all the stars take on a crisp brilliance that is riveting even in the chill of winter’s night air.

On the eve of the shortest day and longest night of the year, the thought of the lengthening days to come is a celebration. Let us not forget the beautiful light of winter: let it live in our hearts just a small bit longer. For the stars of winter are featured in may a tale and legend, in songs and hymns and  poems, and in the oldest sacred stories of humankind.

Portent and mystery, glimpses of the divine majesty, beacons of light and hope, silver fire in the heavens…The light of winter shows us, maybe, that the unknowable magic of the heavens is a fine and blessed thing…It matter not, I think, my imaginary friend that we reflect on the stars in the night sky, or the stars that grace a Christmas tree, but that we simply see the light of winter. Let us follow yonder stars.

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To my imaginary friend

The sense of wonder and exhilaration I feel at looking at the stars, or the mid-summer sunrise, or a thunder-and-lightening tableau perhaps can’t precisely be labeled ‘spiritual’; certainly not religious. But whatever one should want to call it, the realization that there are many mysteries is surely the quality of intelligent life.

I have been pondering this for some days, this piece I wrote in response to some one, some where…because you inspire a sense of wonderment in me, glimpse of the unfathomable mysteries. In many ways, I suppose, another’s mind is always mysterious, and although I do not believe in fate, and almost against my better judgment, it seems to me there is an element of the universal fate being played out in our relationship. At one level entirely prosaic: you like my hair, and I appreciate your efforts at the seduction of me. And at various other levels, the panoply of the vast symbolic repertoire of the human mind… I wish I could remember what words of yours inspired my interest in that  chat box, but really, it was the words that were not said that were important. What I remember is deciding that I must try to become friends with you, because here was a treasure…

Those ellipses are lazy, perhaps, as someone once remarked to me, but they do serve to highlight the inadequacies of language and the sense that ‘treasure’ is but a poor approximation of what I want to say. (And maybe a little trite.) I also remember thinking very clearly – sharply, the moment impressed in my consciousness and now my memory – that something of great import was unfolding here. And if all this sounds rather mysterious –well, we are back to what I remarked upon at the beginning; there are many mysteries and this is one of them.

I can conceive of no greater compliment to tell you than
that I wish to be always wide open to you: to be attentive to the depth and
breadth of that marvelous mind; to share in that mystery.

Our actual Friends are but distant relations of those to
whom we are pledged. We never exchange more than three words with a Friend in our lives on that level to which our thoughts and feelings almost habitually rise.

… so wrote Henry David Thoreau. But these words, my imaginary friend, are
my attempt to change that.