December 21, 2017
The first day of winter. In the early morning, while it’s still dark, the great horned owls call to each other. I search the walnut tree and the pecan, my neighbor’s oak that is still full with golden foliage, but the owls remain hidden, even though many of the trees are bare. The tree I like so much has lost all its leaves now; it stretches graceful arms up to the morning sun. Most of the oak trees lining the arroyo still have their leaves, the Spanish oaks turning red and the burr oaks, a golden brown.
I love walking in the early morning just as the light comes up in the eastern sky. The moon is still out and sometimes a few stars still sparkle. School is out, so the rush of cars, bicycles and parent and children walking up the arroyo is absent, making the morning stroll with Daisy a peaceful beginning to the day.
The screech owl pokes his head out of the box each morning at daylight and interludes during the day. He must like the sun on his face and feeling the crisp morning air. Yesterday, he watched me as I raked leaves, bending his head down and to the side so he could keep his eye on me.
Other birds are slowly returning to the feeders. The other day house finches, chickadees, blue jays, and a woodpecker nibbled on sunflower seeds. No gold finches yet, sadly, and I wait for red-winged blackbirds to appear. In the past they have shown up on the 23rd or 24th, welcoming Christmas.
I moved away from winter once and now it draws me to itself. I long for gray days and chilling temperatures and snow. To escape from the chaos and uncertainty this year has brought. A beautiful performance of the “O” Antiphons at St. Louis of France Church soothes my yearning. The nontraditional service includes readings along with the chants sung at vespers in the Roman Catholic Church the last seven days of Advent.
There was a time when there was no time,
When darkness reigned as king,
When a formless void was all that there was in the nothingness of eternity,
When it was night.
But over the void and over the night Love watched.
There was a time when time began.
It began when Love spoke
Time began for light and life, for splendor and grandeur.
Time began for seas and mountains, for flowers and birds.
Time began for the valleys to ring with the songs of life,
And for the wilderness to echo with the wailing of wind
And howling of animals.
And over the earth, Love watched.
Winter begins. We wait. As 2018 approaches, may Love watch over us all.
– Christine Baleshta