Winter Solstice

This poem from The Sun magazine has absolutely nothing to do with environmental studies, yet it caught my eye as I sifted through magazine cutouts and dog eared pages stuffed into my childhood roll-top desk. Perhaps it is that on the longest night of the year (and its surrounding holidays) we draw our loved ones close, set aside struggles and causes, and allow ourselves a bit of relaxation and unencumbered life. Humans don’t only need clean water, breathable air, and fertile soil to till – we also need our friends, significant others, family and community. Happy holidays all.

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The Leap by Larry Colker

We stood in groups of twos and threes

on the sidewalk outside the bar,

talking, smoking, watching traffic and each other,

one quiet old guy by himself looking at the moon,

when a quick motion caught our eyes

as the girl pounced on her boyfriend,

shimmied up his tall torso,

squeezed her legs around his waist,

clasped her arms around his neck,

pressed her face into his hair.

If I were a prophet, I’d say

a burst of light surrounded them

like a glory. Like revelation, like satori,

we were all converted on the spot:

for the rest of our lives we’d wait

for such a rapture,

our bodies suddenly made heavy

with bone and flesh not our own.

I caught the old man looking, dumbstruck,

until he collected himself

and went back to staring at stars.

At first the boyfriend took it like a puppy’s exuberance,

continued the conversation as though that leap,

still rebounding in our chests,

were nothing special. But his girl did not unlatch.

She tightened her arms and legs around him

until who knows what was let loose inside,

and he hugged her back, with a  shy smile at us

as if embarrassed by his riches.

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