One thing I'll say about Winter sunshine: It may not warm as much as I wish, but it sure does illuminate. The quality of light in Winter is so different, so much more stark and revealing than the warmer sunlight of Summer. This morning, G/Son and I were getting him dressed for a foray out into the bitter cold and a drive from Nonna's house back to his house. We were in my guest room, which has SouthEastern windows and the sunlight was pouring in. G/Son likes to jump on the bed in between articles of clothing, so it can be a lengthy process: put on undershirt and underpants/jump on the bed; put on sweatpants/jump on the bed; put on shirt/jump on the bed; put on socks, well, you get the idea. Finally dressed, G/Son got down from the bed while Nonna was folding up his pajamas and putting them into his overnight case.
Suddenly, clearly enchanted, he cried, "Nonna! What's this stuff we're surrounded by?" I looked down, saw him looking all around, and said, "What? Do you mean the walls and the wallpaper?" G/Son said, "No, Nonna! Look into the sunlight! What's this stuff we're surrounded by?" The smile of wonder on his face was one of the loveliest things that I've ever seen. I knelt down so that I was on the same level that he was and slipped my face into the ray of Winter sunlight in which he'd been standing. And, then . . . I saw. Tiny specs of dust, raised by G/Son's jumping on the bed, were floating in the sunlight. Aware of a teachable moment, I said, "Oh, I see! What do you think it could be?" G/Son said, "We're surrounded by it. Are we always surrounded by it?" And I said, "Yes, we're always surrounded by it, but we usually only see it in certain kinds of sunlight. Some people say it's dust, but that just gives it a name; it doesn't answer the question, does it?" G/Son was slowly turning around by now, hands out in the universal gesture of wonderment, and he said, again, "Nonna, what is this stuff we're surrounded by?" I said, "Well, I think it's a little way of seeing just how much wonder and magic is around us, all the time. I think the sun shows it to us some times to remind us how wonderful our world is. A long time ago, a man named Gerard Hopkins wrote a poem about it. Would you like to hear it?" G/Son looked up as if just remembering that I was there, and said, "Yes." So while he stood, and looked, and slowly turned in the sunlight, I went into the kitchen, grabbed the correct book of poetry, and read him "God's Grandeur".
THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent; There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; And though the last lights off the black West went Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs— Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
I don't think that he got more than the feeling; he stopped for a minute and said, "Are we surrounded by it even at night?" and I said, "Even at night. And, a few times in your life, when the Moon is full and the air is warm, you'll see it even then." G/Son said, "I will?" and I said, "I promise."
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."