Today officially marks the first day of winter. The word solstice comes from Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). In ancient times, people believed that on this day the sun stood still. It is the shortest day of the year, but winter solstice celebrations focus on the fact that the days will now slowly grow longer and we celebrate the rebirth of a new year.
I believe this is a beautiful time to reflect on the natural world around us. Included in this blog post are various photos I have taken from rich winter scenes here in Washington state. I am also including a poem by Mary Oliver, someone who deeply reflects on the natural world around her.
HERONS IN WINTER IN THE FROZEN MARSH
by Mary Oliver
two blue herons
hunkered in the frozen marsh,
like two columns of blue smoke.
What they ate
I can’t imagine,
unless it was the small laces
of snow that settled
in the ruckus of the cattails,
or the glazed windows of ice
under the tired
pitchforks of their feet—
so the answer is
they ate nothing,
and nothing good could come of that.
They were mired in nature, and starving.
Still, every morning
they shrugged the rime from their shoulders,
and all day they
stood to attention
in the stubbled desolation.
I was filled with admiration,
and, of course, empathy.
It called for a miracle.
Finally the marsh softened,
and their wings cranked open
revealing the old blue light,
so that I thought: how could this possibly be
the blunt, dark finish?
First one, then the other, vanished
into the ditches and upheavals.
All spring, I watched the rising blue-green grass,
above its gleaming and substantial shadows,
toss in the breeze,
Tags: beautiful winter scenes in Washington state, chelan, Herons in Winter in the Frozen Marsh, Mary Oliver, Mary Oliver poetry, Mary Oliver's winter solstice poetry, solstice photography, Washington, Washington state, winter photography, winter solstice celebrations, Winter Solstice poetry