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An Open Letter to Winter at Imbolc

Dear Winter:
Icicle and New Snow. Cat Chapin-Bishop. 2013.
I know, I know. So many people misunderstand you. You bring us beauty, like soft, white snowfalls and glittery ice, hanging like jewels from the treetops; we swear and snarl because your lovely ice and snow keep us from rushing about like crazy people in our automobiles.
You bring us rest, and stillness, and for those of us who garden, you kill off the pests and weeds that threatened us with madness a few months ago (and will threaten us again a few months from now).

Your cold and dark allows the Bear Mother to curl up with her babies, deep in the quiet places of the woods, holding them close to her warm breath. You bring us the wonder of clear tracks in snow, calligraphy left us from the wild things who share our world, but seen so rarely by us hurried humans.

And then, in February, as the days lengthen and your beauty is crowned by the flame of the sun, we grumble and complain some more. We want the beach back, we say. (We have forgotten sunburn.) We want the warmth of summer. (We have forgotten the mosquito, the heat wave, the humidity and the stale, dank smell of air-conditioned cells).

And yet you return to us, year by year, underappreciated and lovely. Thank you for your patience.
Imbolc Altar, Cat Chapin-Bishop, 2013.
Thank you for covering my garden and my yard in “the poor man’s compost” of snow yet again.

Thank you most of all for days off teaching, just when I needed them most. And as we Witches are wont to say, “Stay if you will; leave if you must. Hail, and farewell, season of starkness, limits, and rest.”

Happy Imbolc, Festival of Fire and Frost.

A Fan


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