The longest night of the year passed
noiseless except for choirs
praising light’s return.
I’m out of step once more,
like bear, devoted to winter dark,
the quiet of snow,
how ice holds the river,
the path to root.
Iris and daffodil
would have no color
except for the soaking soil
and waves of rain.
As salmon smolt begin
their long sea journey
toward the taste of salt
and back to bear’s belly,
beneath fur and claw
in a dry lightless cave
hunger eats last summer’s fat
while bear sleeps, letting old winter
have it’s slow, deep darkening way.





14 Responses to “Bear Knows – Winter Solstice 2017”

  1. T Johansson says:


  2. Tony Palombo says:

    I, too, linger on with quiet,dark winter to contemplate never ending cycles of the dance between Earth and Sun. Your poem is right on and timely. Let the bear sleep a little longer to fully digest yesterday’s fat. It has been a full year and there’s lots of fat to digest and allow passage out of the Eternal Moment of Now. Thank you for sharing your meditation.

  3. Stan Grindstaff says:

    Solstice simmer!

  4. Bonnie Palombo says:

    Simply beautiful images . . .

  5. Rose Meeker says:

    Yes, I too am content to continue the inner hibernation for a while…

  6. Elizabeth Nunn says:

    It is my time of making space within the space of the cave. I know Light is coming but for now I rest in long night.

  7. maria says:

    Our bears are gorging on summer sun and berries, until the dance of seasons exchanges those rituals. All hail to the celebration of each.

  8. Gloria says:

    The “deep darkening way” always reponds to the light of a new spring.
    Let us all remember that as we connect one with another.
    Thanks for a beautiful year Don❤️

  9. David Barnes says:

    I has been good to walk with you Don, throughout this past cycle, right in step with that slow deep darkening way. db

  10. Jay Schwartz says:

    Don: Figel and I want to know how you can write paeans to bears but nary a word about “Dove”, your unremembered dog from 50 years ago ?

  11. Pichay says:

    Montana Grizzlies missed beating Washington Huskies by one basket, while I slumbered in the warmth of my cave whilst a blizzard quietly gave assurance for adequate water in the next growth season. The grand design is true to it’s mission. Am I?

  12. Carol Carlson says:

    Bears and hibernation are amazing!
    Of course we’re out of step with the light returning because the earth lags behind, continues to grow cold for a month or two. We hunker down, rest.
    I am steeped in the richness of my selfish desire to go quiet, read my past and find the essence of my life.
    Just as the growing light reaches the tops of trees exciting them, somewhere deep in me I am responding to the stirrings to burst forth again.

  13. Pat Fitzsimmons says:

    I too find deep nuturing in the dark this time of year. It’s good to know that I am one with the Earth, made of the same dirt and fire, attuned with her seasonal energies

  14. Mark James says:

    Thanks Don, Bear Knows touched a nerve. I miss the home I use to own in the mountains so much, it pains me to think about it and the amazing happy feelings I had sharing it with my one true love….Maybe someday again?

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