Tonight being the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year I thought long and hard about what to write. It is important for me to disclose that this deep and thoughtful pondering was wedged in there between brain functions pertaining but not limited to: homeschooling, christmas preparations, mediating children’s arguments, various and sundry YouTube video watching. The best I can offer up at this point is to recount to you a story, a true story.
About two years ago I was at Target at the Winter solstice. It was nearing dark and I was nearing desperation because I was not done shopping. In a last-ditch effort to finish up I braved the cold and the dark and the crazy shoppers. I pulled into a hard-fought parking space and sat in my car for a minute or seven. I do that. I have to steel myself before entering stores because I hate to shop that much.
As I sat there, working up the courage and looking over my poorly drawn list I saw a woman sitting in her car in the next row over. I reasoned that perhaps she was getting up her courage as well. In the next minute she quickly exited her car and closed the door. Then she proceeded to brush crumbs from the front of her coat. She brushed off her coat and then she unzipped her coat and brushed off her sweater. As she did this crumbs fell from her sweater and coat continuously. This went on for like 3 or 4 minutes and crumbs just kept falling. At one point she pulled her sweater away from her body and jumped up and down a little and sure enough more crumbs found their way to the parking lot. When she was through she looked around, zipped up her coat and walked into the store. Shortly thereafter a flock of pigeons came along and cleaned up the evidence.
This was by far one of the best pre shopping scenes I’ve witnessed and one I puzzled over for a long time. I didn’t know what to do with this visual. I kicked myself for not getting my phone out and shooting it. All I had was my memory and so I did the next best thing. I wrote a poem about it. I made some creative alterations but you get the point I think.
So, happy Winter Solstice, friends…enjoy the darkness, enjoy the light-
solstice to solstice
I would be assuming a great deal in saying
that the woman who leapt from her car
into that frozen day
as I watched from the
warm confinement of my vehicle
was, in fact,
doing some kindness
for the birds
in the parking lot
of the grocery store,
shaking out her coat
and littering the asphalt
with enough crumbs
to sustain them all
from solstice to solstice.