New Year’s Eve reflections about life in the dark

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come whispering, “It will be happier.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson

I wrote my last post about light on the darkest day of the year. Today, the eve of a new year (New Year’s Day in some places already), is supposed to be all about light and hope. And in spite of my optimistic Winter Solstice resolutions about hoping without reason and loving without expectation (and I intend to stick to those, I promise), I cannot help but think about the previous New Year’s Eves when I threw open my front door to welcome those years into my life:

New Year’s Eve 2019: The end of a decade, the beginning of a new one! (uhhh…guess what 2020 has in store? Pandemic.)

New Year’s Eve 2020: God, I’m glad this year is over, let’s move on! (still pandemicking…and personal crap broke me…)

New Year’s Eve 2021: Well, that year sucked. Let’s try next year on for size! (still pandemicking and the personal crap intensified…)

I think it’s best to approach the end of 2022 without expecting too much from 2023. Instead, let’s look inside for the change we need. That’s why I intend to stick to my two Winter Solstice resolutions.

Hope. Even when it’s dark and it’s been dark and you’re bone cold and can’t imagine warmth ever again. Hope because if you believe the light is coming, maybe it will. If you give up on it, though, you will never see it even if it does come.

Love. Let love be its own reward. Love your family if you’re lucky enough to have them. Love the people around you. Love things. Love music. Love a flower that peeks up through the sidewalk if that’s the only thing you can find to love. Love the feel of the sun when it shines. Just love because it feels good to love and it will give you strength.

I will still open the door at midnight on New Year’s Eve. I will welcome the new year with hope even if there’s no reason to. I will love the new year, but I won’t expect anything from it. Because life is indifferent to me, and I will have to accept it all…good and bad…regardless. But if I believe the light is coming, at least I’ll have my eyes open when it does.

Photo by Michelle Garren-Flye. Copyright 2022 Michelle Garren-Flye

Winter Solstice reflections about life in the light

Yesterday was an important day that often goes unnoticed. In the Northern Hemisphere, it was the darkest day of the year. Winter Solstice.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved the idea of the Winter Solstice. I remember my mother always marked it. She was one of those people whose mood is affected by the light. The darkness of winter depressed her, so the Winter Solstice was a time of change for the good. Because every day after would be brighter. The days are getting longer now, she’d say in the hopeful voice I loved to hear.

Yesterday was a good day for me. I almost forgot it was the shortest day of the year because it seemed bright. Good news, new music, a great day at my store and time with my kids…when I looked at my watch and saw it was almost time for the solstice, though, I knew I needed to mark it. Because every chance I get to make things brighter, I need to take it.

So at 4:48 p.m. I lit a candle. I burned it until midnight and I tried to picture my life…brighter. I came up with two resolutions.

I will hope without reason.

I will love without expectation.

I think if I can hold onto these two resolutions, I can live a brighter life. Too often we wait for life to give us a reason to hope. If we can just hold hope in our hearts, we can live in the light more often. I don’t know what you hope for. I’m sometimes not even certain what I hope for. But I know without hope for something, we might as well curl up and die. So hope.

And loving without expectation is something we all struggle with, I think. I’ve always found it easy to love…things, people, places, pets, food. But in loving, I too often expect something in return. I have a plan in mind for my love, a path it should follow, rewards I should get in return for it, whatever. But I don’t control the object of my love, so I cannot control the results of my love and am often disappointed. Love itself has to be the reward, and if I can achieve that, I will surely live brightly.

I’m sure these two resolutions are not unique. Buddha or Gandhi probably came up with them long ago. Perhaps this is what they tried to teach me in Sunday School when I was a child. Is this what faith is? Or is it just the ramblings of a middle-aged would-be poet? You decide. It won’t matter to me. I’ll be over here hoping for a brighter future and loving you.

I’ll be in the light if you’d like to join me.

candle

Photo by Michelle Garren-Flye Copyright 2022

Poem: Love the Rain, Need the Sun

Every single damn time I write a poem, I tell myself, don’t share it. You can’t do anything with it once you do. Except self-publish it. But all my villanelles will eventually be in a book anyway. A self-published one because we’ve already established I don’t have the patience required for traditional publishing.

So, I guess, enjoy. Because I also like to share when I think I’ve written something good. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’re probably not alone.)

Villanelle #27

By Michelle Garren-Flye

I love the rain, need the sun…
Can’t help the weather though.
Oh, I really just want a bit of fun.

Come with me, light one.
Make time with you pass slow;
let’s love the rain, need the sun.

All that’s left for me is a crumb
A bit of life—dare I to hope?
I really just want a bit of fun.

Incredibly, I once was young
and took time to watch things grow…
when I loved the rain, needed the sun.

In time I know I will have won
And life will return to its glow.
Right now, I just want a bit of fun.

When all is said and done
I cannot wait to watch it all go.
I love the rain, but I need the sun,
And really, I just want a bit of fun.
Photo by Michelle Garren-Flye

Poem 5 (National Poetry Month): Light

Light

By Michelle Garren Flye

I see you.

Falling, gliding, from the sky.

You slide across a spider web,

Amazing feat of parkour.

Skating across the water,

Dancing, dazzling.

You skip nimble from ripple to ripple.

Even when the curtains are shut, you sneak in.

Sometimes you hurt.

Maybe you don’t mean it, but you do.

I turn away, close my eyes against the tears,

But they come anyway.

You never fail me, though, even in the darkest night

And bleakest day, I can find you.

I see you,

And that’s your gift.

Light. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Reflections on the darkest day of the year

Juneau moonlight

Happy darkest day of the year

Today is the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year, and, in my mind, the day of change. Hopefully for the better. Last year on this day, I got the idea to write children’s books. This year, I’ve written two. Jessica Entirely and Jessica Naturally, the first two books of my Jessica series, are now published and being consumed. Of course, to do that, I had to create a new identity as my romances are definitely not for kids. Thus was born Shelley Gee.

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I have also written a good bit of poetry this year. I like that. I published my first poetry booklet, Times and Ties, which I dedicated to a friend who passed away unexpectedly and tragically. I still miss you, Pam. You were a staunch supporter of my writing, especially my poetry. (By the way, I’m working on getting this booklet online. For now, it’s only available for purchase at our local small bookstore, The Next Chapter Books and Art.

For Pam

By Michelle

 

Oh my brain just couldn’t comprehend

But my treacherous heart heard the news

And held it close and took it in

 

Oh today is gray because you’ve left

Taking your light and helpful spirit

And you won’t be coming around

 

And oh my heart keeps reminding me

You’re gone.

 

Oh my friend what you’ve left behind

Has more value than words can say

More than most with twice the time

 

Oh the legacy of a loving life

The warm work of hands that care

Reminds us we’ll see the sun shine

 

But oh my heart keeps telling me

You’re gone.

 

Last year, I also took about six months of singing lessons, landed a spot in the choir for our local theatre’s production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, and accepted a spot on the board of our other local theatre. So I’m exploring a whole new arena of storytelling.

What will this next year hold for me? Well, I took a bit of a break from my romances in order to accomplish all this, and I’m eager to get back to it. Magic at Sea is calling me. I plan to answer that call today. After all, what better way to celebrate the return of light to the world than by writing about love? Beyond that? I know I’ll be writing more about little Jessica. I hope to be in more theatre and I know I’ll be behind the scenes for more. Tonight, I’ll light a fire and a few candles and think hard about how to make it all happen.

What about you? What will the light bring you?

For more ideas about how to celebrate the winter solstice, check out this website: https://rhythmsofplay.com/ways-to-celebrate-the-winter-solstice-2/

Also, my book Winter Solstice is still available from Lyrical Press:

wintersolstice cover

Something in the light

There’s something about this time of year. Something about the light. Like things are clearer. More contrasted.

See what I mean?

Maybe we should be able to see more clearly, too.

If we look.

Look hard.

Look long.

Look deeper than you knew you could.

Even at the shiny things.

The beautiful.

The things you thought had only one face.

Earth has a soul. We are it. At this time of year when days are short but time is long, we can take stock, see if we are where we need to be. Make a u-turn if we’re not.

It’s humanity’s solstice too.

Poem: Why Can’t You See the Dark?

Why Can’t You See the Dark?

By Michelle Garren Flye

 
Why can’t you see the dark?

It creeps up on you

Concealing all that is bright—

Why don’t you see it?

 

Please see the dark.

Shadows fall and evening rises—

The sun is gone, leaving…nothing.

Please see it.

 

You’re blind to loss.

You don’t miss what’s gone,

The light you let go.

You are blind in the darkness.

 

You could still fight it.

The dark can’t take everything.

Maybe if you reach out

You’ll find the light again.

“But”: A Poem for Independence

Happy birthday, America. You’re 241 years old. Congratulations.

You’re still an infant on the world stage. An infant with a very big gun, but an infant still.

Maybe that’s why we’ve allowed you to get to this state. Mass deportations, guns in every pocket, a tyrannical toddler in charge, squabbling lawmakers unwilling to compromise, and worst of all, your beautiful land pockmarked and disfigured, air polluted and waters spoiled by avarice.

But.

But you’re a lovely idea, a perfect ideal to work toward. We’ve only taken a moment to tend to our worst selves. We’ll get back to the job eventually. We’ll return to the original intent of our forefathers. I believe that.

And I love you.

“I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” — James Baldwin

But

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

Lady Liberty holds a tablet and a torch—

The law of freedom, the light of hope.

 

But what does it mean when guns fill the street?

When drugs are offered but food is not?

Fear is the only law. There is no defense.

 

What happened to our freedom?

 

Some fight still for their most basic rights,

But the Bible of an intolerant God quashes them.

Your love is wrong. Your life is less.

 

Where is the light of hope?

 

It shines still, cutting a swath through darkness.

Land of plenty, home of brave, promises made—

 

But will they be honored?