Important Disclaimer

Since I currently have several employers/supervisors/churches/etc., please know that none of the words on my blog represent them or their beliefs. This blog is my own creation.

It also does not represent my children's perspective, nor my mother's; they think I am funny, but misguided.
(Quick update: only my mother thinks I'm funny now.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


From "Ode to Broken Things"
by Pablo Neruda

Life goes on grinding up
glass, wearing out clothes
making fragments
breaking down
and what lasts through time
is like an island on a ship in the sea,
surrounded by dangerous fragility
by merciless waters and threats. 

For the first time since moving to New Jersey, I am looking forward to winter. I have been always a fan of late summer and late autumn. Blazing hot sun where I can read in the shade, the warmth of October sun, the muted colors of November before it gets nasty cold. Those seasons suit my spirit well, spinning, somewhat directionless, landing where I do.

But I find myself in a time when it is necessary to narrow down my options, to make things stark so I can see better, to cut out superfluous things, in order to get by. I'm working on a PhD, and I'm working on some kids, and I'm working on a church, and there's still dishes and laundry and Goddess help me a pile of paperwork taller than you. So winter suits me just fine, stripping the leaves until nothing but bare branches remain, life held in reserve for the spring.

And you might pray for me, those of you who do that sort of thing. And if prayer isn't your thing, you might just think a fond thought of me here and there when it gets cold. Because this is a mourning process, to embrace winter. It's just a little too stark and naked for my taste.

Today we had a beautiful worship service at school, officiated by those of us in the trans and lgb group at Drew Theological School. We made some elbow room with our queer stoles and collars (which look a lot like straight and cis stoles and collars, I'm just saying). It was good to be there. So that's the thing about winter, the trees are still wick. 


  1. Janet Linderoth BohrenNovember 18, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    It has been a long time since I read Robert Frost's poem on the divided path and making a choice that made all the difference. I wonder it it weren't also in winter. I went to school in Middlebury Vermont and winters had a certain wonder to them then for me, as they did in the upper peninsula (Mich.) where I lived during my first years of teaching. But I too have always loved the fall colors, especially in New England and the midwest. And I dislike darkness with a passion, so now stripping down my life to essentials, perhaps this winter will bring a path to spring newness.

    What does "the trees are still wick." mean? Did you by any chance mean "thick" and I am just a bit dense about understanding your metaphor?
    Janet Linderoth Bohren

  2. "the trees are still wick" is a reference to the children's book The Secret Garden published in serial form by Frances Hodgson Burnett in 1910. It was the story of a young girl, Mary, who came to live in a manor house and discovered a secret garden that nobody had tended to in a decade. Mary and her friend Dickon (who knows a bit of gardening) begin to tend the garden. At some point Dickon cuts into a branch that looks dead and finds life saying "It's as wick as you are me." Not sure the origin of the word "wick" but it means "alive" or "lively".

  3. Janet Linderoth BohrenNovember 18, 2010 at 11:49 PM

    Thanks Katie. That is really interesting. I can't tell you how often I look at the trees in my yard in the dead of winter and marvel that they will grow massive amounts of green leaves come spring. I never read that book but have known about it for umpteen years. Need to go back someday and read this book and Alice in Wonderland. I figured you meant what you wrote, but wondered what it meant. I loved your piece. The poetry Neruda is really powerful. Thanks for sharing it here. You write so very well. Hope to see books and poetry from you after the PhD is done. : )


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.