23 December 2011

Solstice and Farewell

Solstice turned out to be a farewell, not a celebration: my brother died suddenly and too early. Despite personal sadness, the world continues to turn, and that's as it should be. Here are solstice lights that we lit on the 22nd in the garden, by the pool. (Thanks lb). csq tells me that solstice this year fell on the 22nd anyway, so maybe we lit them at the right time.

And so this solstice I remember a freckly-faced big brother who played soldiers and cowboys&indians with me (I always ended up tied to the pole of the washing line, never the hero cowboy). I remember the hairy teenager with ginger sideburns and mad flares who listened to cool music. I remember the science student "studying" in the back garden in the summer, sparrows chattering in the hedges, raspberries starting to appear on the canes. The funny man who was one of the best mimics ever, who hung out with his student sister in Canada, ostensibly looking for work, but never finding any; who drove the rent-a-wreck car with me through the prairies as we went off to my field area in the badlands; who introduced me to the poetry of Amy Clampitt, and who gave me a tape of Seamus Heaney and Tom Paulin reading their own poems; who had me and my cousins helpless with laughter in a trip through the Pyrenees; who gave my son his first bass and who always encouraged both my sons in their love of music; who moved lock, stock and barrel into another life as he made a loving family with his wife and two boys: a life he left before he was ready.

Happy Solstice all.

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