Winter Songbird

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The following piece was written by Maggie Gavin. Maggie has been teaching yoga for The Perri Institute for Mind and Body for five years. She is currently pursuing her MSW at Fordham University to learn how to support mental health through yoga. Catch her class at Steps on Broadway: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 AM and Fridays at 12 PM.

It’s time for me to stop pretending I hate winter. I love winter. If my love for winter means I buck the tide of popular opinion, so be it. Winter feeds my introverted soul. I get to cozy up on the couch with my love and my favorite cup of tea, because the cold provides the perfect excuse to stay in. I get to sit in front of a fire and sip hot chocolate because going outside means my body is working hard to stay warm and should be rewarded for its effort. I get to enjoy my favorite outdoor activities – skiing, snowshoeing and ice-skating – coming home the best kind of fatigued. I get to sleep soundly through the long, dark nights. And then, when winter ends, we get a slow thawing. We get to reemerge, hopefully better rested and more thoughtful from our months of hibernation. Winter becomes not just a time for rest, but for reinvention.

I recently came across Thomas Hardy’s poem, “The Darkling Thrush”. In the desolate winter landscape, there’s one voice of joy and hope. Though the thrush is battered and frail from its winter battles, its song reminds the speaker to keep the faith. Winter won’t last forever.

So here I am. Let me be your thrush, cutting through the bleakness with a joyful song. As we look forward and hope for the rising temperatures of spring, savor the rest of what winter offers. Give yourself permission to hunker down. Enjoy the quietness while it lasts.

The Darkling Thrush

By Thomas Hardy

I leant upon a coppice gate

      When Frost was spectre-grey,

And Winter’s dregs made desolate

      The weakening eye of day.

The tangled bine-stems scored the sky

      Like strings of broken lyres,

And all mankind that haunted nigh

      Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be

      The Century’s corpse outleant,

His crypt the cloudy canopy,

      The wind his death-lament.

The ancient pulse of germ and birth

      Was shrunken hard and dry,

And every spirit upon earth

      Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among

      The bleak twigs overhead

In a full-hearted evensong

      Of joy illimited;

An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,

      In blast-beruffled plume,

Had chosen thus to fling his soul

      Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings

      Of such ecstatic sound

Was written on terrestrial things

      Afar or nigh around,

That I could think there trembled through

      His happy good-night air

Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew

      And I was unaware.

Photography by Maggie Gavin

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Comments
2 Responses to “Winter Songbird”
  1. Callie says:

    Beautiful, and the poem is lovely. Thanks for pledging yourself a Thrush for us, 😉 and lighting up our wintertime. Even coincidentally proclaimed on the very day the stroke of brittle cold in NYC broke into a sunny, melty above-freezing.

  2. Marissa says:

    I envy your love for winter! I too am an introvert and enjoy staying in but I have yet to find the appreciation for icy commutes and slush soaked shoes. I also have yet to find an appreciation for the grumpy New Yorkers that I seem to bump into during these commutes. I’ll definitely try to savor the rest of what winter has to offer me but I cannot hide my excitement for spring and the elimination of frigid ice puddles on every street corner, lol.

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