From “Winter in the Rockies,” by Chelsea Dingman

I’m listening now, as water
like a sleeping child wrestles
with the blankets pulled over
its face, waiting to see
which one of us will wake.


Today is the solstice, a day recognized from ancient times as a powerful and magical time, when some combination of ritual and miracle would turn the world back toward the light and people knew spring and crops would come again.

We’ve forgotten all that now. We take for granted that the earth will turn and seasons change. The Oak King and the Holly King no longer fight their ancient battle but lie both frozen in legend. We can get in our cars on a whim and buy tomatoes at the grocery store.

And yet.

And yet we light our fires, go a-wassailing — or lie at home, blankets pulled snug, trusting, even in the bleak midwinter, that we and the world will both wake to spring.