YULE IN ALABAMA, HOMEGIRL STYLE
So it’s Yule in the South. I woke to hammering rain and a to-do list as long as long as my arm. Strange, considering how hustle and bustle this house usually is, how static and liquid the air felt this morning. I was alone today, just me, my kitchen and mulled wine. Through the open kitchen door, through the rusted screen and spider webs, cardinals chattered stories of longer days and myths of snow-crusted trees. They’ve heard tell of cold winters from wandering sprites, but these crimson feathers are Alabama born and bred. Somewhere in the day, to the white noise of chopping of dill for homemade vinegar and the wrapping of holly around an oak log, Yule saved me. Again.
It was a Van Morrison kinda’ day. Into the Mystic danced across my brain, the song I have annointed my Wake hymnal, the lines right on time for the shortest day of the year:
We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic
And when that fog horn blows I will be coming home
And when the fog horn blows I want to hear it
I don’t have to fear it
And I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And magnificently we will flow into the mystic.
It smacks of quiet acceptance, a passing through from light to dark, night to day. It hit me that, once again, Winter had slapped my ass silly and worn my soul down to a fishwife of a gal. I miss my ‘maters. I long for my pepper seed. My hands yearn to be fist-deep in manure and Alabama earth. But, and here’s the crux y’all, I’ve gotta earn that bliss, that Mystic that rocks my gypsy soul. Maybe Spring needs to be missed. Maybe She (like Big Momma) appreciates the chase like any lover, complete with pleas to never leave and shows of a passion so unrequited that we can still taste her salt on our tongues when She slips into the equinox. Ah, but that is why Yule is finally here, isn’t it? To stamp the ice off of his boots, wrench down the Holly King and step into our homes, all Hey, y’all! What’s for dinner? Guess who’s just around the corner? The Mystic. Rebirth.
And so, just as I finished making my Orange-Cranberry Vodka for the night’s love-fest with my tribe, another song slipped through my radio:
Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right.
Funny, it wasn’t the Beatles version that I have always loved like bacon. It was my homegirl, Nina Simone.
This is my gift to you on our Blessed Yule. Let it remind you: Guess who’s coming to dinner?
Oh, yeah, baby. Here She comes.