Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Feast of Almost

I love to hear the many stories about Brighid, although I am not particularly drawn to her. I almost could be, maybe if I were a polytheist, maybe if I had more than a few drops of Scots or Irish in me. Almost.

She is all about transformation, renewal. She is the fire that bakes your bread and burns you as you warm your chilled bones. She is art that shatters you and puts you back together in a different shape. She is Woody Guthrie's guitar. This machine kills Fascists.

I almost get it.

What I am closer to understanding is Imbolc. Call it any number of names from any part of the world. With or without the name of Brighid, the idea is the same. Winter is leaving. Spring is almost here. Can't you feel it frozen in the snow? (Much later, the writer of that song heard Peter, Paul, and Mary perform it; they told him those first seemingly tragic flowers of spring were perennials.)

In any case, even in a land without snow I can feel the expectation. Today my Pagan sisters and brothers think about pregnant ewes (Imbolg 'in the belly') and their milk (Oimelc) that is just about to come in.

We are all expecting. And like the sheep, we don't know exactly what we are going to get, but we have the general idea. We are pregnant with potential.

And that is what is most heartbreaking. Will it, could it, ever be born?

Imbolc says yes.

I cried when my parents bought me a musical keyboard a few years ago, partly out of happiness, partly because I remembered my mother often musing over my spidery fingers when I was a child. These are the fingers, she said, of an artist or a musician. Even then I knew my skills hadn't kept up with my potential.

I also cry sometimes when I hear songs like The Wall (by Kansas, not Pink Floyd!) and Sing, Sing a Song. The promised land is waiting like a maiden that is soon to be a bride. Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear.

Silliness helps. Karaoke, the ukulele. Blogging instead of doing 'real' writing. And what is real anyway?

Someday, the freeze comes to an end, slowly, interspersed with more bitter weather. Yet it always comes to an end. That is the message. We're halfway there. Even winter has its hump day.

I'm frozen now, but I won't be frozen long.

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