Solstice 2012

 A Leaf From The Tree of Songs

When harpers once in wooden hall
A shining chord would strike
Their songs like arrows pierced the soul
Of great and low alike

Aglow by hearth and candleflame
From burning branch to ember
The mist of all their music sang
As if to ask in wonder

Is there a moment quite as keen
Or memory as bright
As light and fire and music (sweet)
To warm the winter's night?

--Adam Christianson

We're sending you our winter wishes from Long Island, New York, where we're gathering with the Cahn clan, all Mike's family.

It's mild here and sunny, and Mike's been out chopping hurricane-fallen wood. On the sidewalks there are piles of it, and fallen leaves in bags that Suzie's going to help Mike's mum gather and mulch her garden with. We're both struck by the permaculture principle that "waste is just a resource you haven't found a use for yet", and there's an abundance of resource here, waiting to be transformed. It's all just a matter of tapping into potential. In recent years, we've become aware of nature's cycle of destruction and renewal so much that, when we see destruction, we immediately look for signs of renewal. Here, it's in the stories of how communities pull together to help each other in the aftermath of the devastation to houses, and weeks without gasoline or electricity, and the incredibly organised volunteer efforts to help "hurricane families". Sometimes it can take disaster and crisis to unlock abundant potential -- "when the night is darkest, the stars come out.". People who were facing a fallen tree on their house found community to help renew. We hope to go give a hand while we're here.

Sorry we won't be sharing our Solstice Celebration with all of you. We hope you enjoy your own traditions (or maybe Dulra and OOOOBY's celebration seeds, now dispersed, may grown into something of your own) to warm the winter's night, as the poem says, with "light and fire and music sweet." Due to jet lag, we're up early every morning, so we'll be having a little candle and fire celebration while we wait for the Solstice sunrise tomorrow morning..
Perhaps we feel it every year at this time; that calling to the light is particularly important this year. As the recession in Ireland deepens and the state of our world can feel ever darker this year, finding a way to call to the light does seem a good thing to be doing.

We're looking forward to spring when we hope to begin barn raising, natural building, developing our pond and swale network into a aquaculture system, plus continuing to develop our organic gardens, food forest etc, and we'll be hosting some interesting volunteer groups from college societies, to Nepali organic farmers, and of course the wonderful world of diversity that arrives in our wwoofers.

We wish you all rest and peace and look forward to seeing you in the Spring, when the Earth awakens anew.

Mike & Suzie Cahn -