christmas eve

la vigilia di natale

This is the solstice
the still point of the sun
its cusp and midnight
the year’s threshold
and unlocking

where the past
lets go of and becomes the future

the place of caught breath
the door of a vanished house
left ajar

My third Christmas Eve at home – amazing and wonderful. It’s hard to believe that for 50 years, I drove or flew to Northern Ontario at this time of year. With many years the weather being as horrendous as it is today. In 2018 it took me 12 hours to get home; in 2019 it took 18 hours; both trips made miserable by weather conditions, flight delays and airport layovers (because sitting on those back-breaking lounge chairs is my idea of a pleasant Christmas trip).

I added the title la vigilia di natale, to mark how in Italy, Christmas Eve has taken on an importance it never had. It’s now very common, on social media, for people to post a season greeting about the 24th. That is a new development and I suspect it’s the Italians way of keeping the traditions and the religiosity of the holiday in place. Because, I suspect, like all First-World countries, Italy has defaulted to December 25 being an overwhelmingly commercial event full of insincere gift-giving and Hallmark sentimentality.

The image is from my back window looking out onto the snow-covered yard. The plant is a bay-leaf tree, in for the winter, and the two beautifully wrapped things under it are panettoni. (I decided to leave the patio-chair out to remind me that this too shall pass – and please let it pass fast. It’s clear I HATE winter, right?)
The poem – Solstice – is by Margaret Atwood.