Winter and the Moon of the New Year
Christmastide, Day 9: Evergreen Day
Sunday gratefuls: Coffee. Cold coffee. The Denver Post. All print newspapers still at it. An informed citizenry. Trump, for exposing our weakness. 17 days. Buh, bye orange one. 2021. 2020 in the rear view. Tara. Marilyn. Rabbi Jamie. Lobster and ribeye.
Once again. Pine, Conifer, Evergreen. This is our day in Christmastide. This day and the Snow day have no festivals associated with them, so we celebrate aspects of midwinter that bring us joy.
Matthews cites an interesting Cherokee story about the origin of the evergreen. The Great Spirit created plants and wanted to give them each a special gift, but could not decide which gift would go to which plants.
Among the trees, the Great Spirit decided on a contest. He asked all of the trees to keep watch over creation for seven days. After the first night, all the trees remained awake, excited at the opportunity. On the second night some fell asleep, but woke right back up.
As the nights went on, most of the trees began to fall asleep, unable to stay alert for so long. By the seventh day, all but the pine, the cedar, the spruce, the holly, and the laurel had fallen asleep.
“To you,” the Great Spirit said, “I shall give the gift of remaining green forever. You shall guard the forest even in the winter when all your brothers and sisters are sleeping.” And so they do to this day.
At our elevation the Lodgepole guard the Aspen whose golden leaves in the fall proceed their winter sleep. At lower elevations the Ponderosa, the Spruce stand guard. At the treeline ancient Bristlecone Pines patrol. In other parts of Colorado the Douglas Fir, the Engleman Spruce, the Pinon Pine, the Rocky Mountain Juniper, and the White Fir watch. The Great Spirit reminds us each Winter of the Evergreens special gift.
Here is a special Solstice salutation from Italy’s sixteenth century:
I salute you!
There is nothing I can give you which
You have not.
But there is much, that while I cannot give,
You can take.
No heaven can come to us, unless our hearts find
Rest in it today.
No peace lies in the future which is not
Hidden in this present instant.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow.
Behind it, within our reach, is joy.
And so at this Christmastime, I greet you,
With the prayer that for you, now and forever,
The day breaks, and the shadows flee away!
Matthews, p. 200