It is a dark and stormy night. Yippie. Nothing like the first big winter blow-in to settle down the revved-up street energy. They’re gone, briefly, the colorful packs of bicyclists clip-clopping around with their Bovine pastries and cups of coffee. They’re home, the kayakers and mountain bikers and hard-working urbanites, shopping local where they live. And we’re home, too, listening to the storm and thinking about matters local: flooding, high tides, power flickering on and off, trees that fall over, and mud that slithers onto roadways.
The winter night offers the adventure of heading out to socialize or snuggling up at home with Rick Clark’s jazz and blues programs on KWMR–not to mention Netflix, which I won’t. The winter night is a pull to go down under and at the same time a yearning to be out among. Somewhere underneath the programming of “the holiday season” lies the programming of nature’s intentions to make us uneasily aware of the fragile nature of life itself.
Death is winter’s companion as the days shorten toward the solstice point of turning. Winter builds character as we confront its inhospitality. We need the light of human company to replace the sun’s warmth, so the mid-winter traditions offer the feasts of companionship. There is cooking and decorating and gift-giving and cheerful greetings sung out by one and all. The tree by the Palace Market explodes with wild lights as if it were the Fourth of July. Can’t help but smile when you see that tree!
We treasure the simplicity of our rural life here where elements speak to us elementally, not metaphorically. There are fires in fireplaces, wind in trees loud enough to spook kids and pets, and the thrill of wild and dangerous waves on familiar beaches. The storms speak to the subconscious awareness of where power really lies. There is no such thing as taming nature. We need to dive in and be nature and let nature teach us what is real and what is not. It is a dark and stormy night in Point Reyes town and aren’t we lucky that winter is here again.
West Marin Citizen Dec. 27, 2007