Between the world and the stars there is this–winter comes for us all. It’s not just the shiver, the fear of hunger, the barren branches. It’s the fundamental symbolism: Cold is the corpse’s texture, white its complexion, inevitable and too soon its timing. As the land is, we will someday be.
No matter what happens after, if you don’t grieve the loss of this life, you are a fool. And not the Fool of the tarot, unmapped and awake to infinite possibility, either. The dumbass denial kind. That fool.
It sucks to realize we’re just stock characters on a crowded stage and all the lines are stupid. It’s easy to choke and wheeze when we discover there are no chains in Plato’s cave, just the hands of the people we love and don’t want to break.
So we shut-up into the icy silence of our soul’s dark night. We pretend it doesn’t hurt, and stoic ourselves almost to death. That’s why welcoming back the light is such a big deal.
Recently, Colcannon recorded a studio concert at Mohr Fire. In addition to learning that my collection needs more music sung in Gaelic, dead ducks are blue, and the bodhran is a delightfully subtle and complex instrument, we were educated about Hogmanay, the Scottish New Year’s celebration where the “first foot” across a friend’s threshold sets the house’s luck, and firechuckers twirl blazing balls of chicken wire above their heads before throwing them into the sea.
Each act is a gesture of warmth, melting through our frigid isolation. We are each other’s curse and cure, and we are all that has ever saved us.
So let’s make a pact. I can’t promise I won’t fail you or that you’ll always like me. I can’t tell you how to find forever on a map, or make all my words those you’ll want to hear. But when the wind whistles down, I’ll be at your door, grin on my face and two foot fireball swingin’. You’re always welcome across my threshold.
Oh, one last thought:
The stars are undeniably real, but that doesn’t mean they are what we imagine.