Death Denied

The weather here has been frigid for days; I keep thinking it will finally get too cold for the earth to turn, the mechanism will jam. The tips of my fingers crack, there can’t be enough blankets, and each morning on the radio that wakes me I hear about the wind chill. The darkness was starting to make me claustrophobic.

Then two days ago I held a friend’s week-old baby, a tiny little frog-creature who arched her back and flung out her long-fingered hands to grasp at something only she could see, deep blue eyes screwed tightly shut. She was bundled in fleece and warm in my arms, and her voice was the voice of hope: angry, determined, blindly announcing her fevered presence in this chilly world.

I am not religious, nor am I atheist. I spend time at Robert’s place instead of at church, and I take my inspiration from strange places: random books, television shows of all things, poetry by Jewish lesbians in France. And perhaps what I love most about this season is what Frances Mayes wrote in Under the Tuscan Sun:

Pagan, I suppose I am, but I think what a glorious metaphor the birth is at year’s end, the dark and dead end of the year. The one cry of the baby in the damp straw and death is denied. The baby in every scene has a nimbus of light around his head. The sun crossing over the celestial equator, bringing back the days I love. One foot over and we’re on a swing toward light.

Merry Christmas to all. Stay warm.