If you have been reading Mary Oliver’s Twelve Moons as a lunar calendar with me through 2011, it’s time for the last poem of the year. In keeping with the circular nature of life and the passing of years, we now end with the poem with which we began: Snakes in Winter.
Despite the snake theme, which is mostly lost on this Alaska-bred boy, this seems to be a fitting poem to finish the project. My life, too, seems like a “flickering broth six months below simmer” as 2011 draws to a close, and we wait for 2012 to dawn. As active as we must continue to be to survive here, there is a somnambulent feel to all of our activities in the late and harshest part of our winter, which is about to begin. We hibernate on some level, even as we continue to move forward. In our observance of the holiday, we still have one more week of Christmas to celebrate before ending it on Twelfth Night, so we continue for a bit longer in the dreamtime of the season before returning to the every day. Spring, when it comes, will be an awakening.
So, I ask myself, what’s next? Do I find some new calendrical devotion for the coming year? Do I explore some new poet, or author, or do I retool Twelve Moons to the lunar schedule of the coming year? And, whatever I decide, will I share it here, or keep it to myself?
Time, as always, will tell. Happy New Year!