Celebrate Fiercely

IMG_2147Green designer and architect (and author of the seminal Cradle to Cradle) William McDonough once said “It’s not about survival of the fittest.  It’s about those who celebrate the most being the evolutionary winners.  Nature is all about fierce celebration.”

Celebrate fiercely. Those words are on my mind today as I watch the snow come down outside, our third storm (and astonishing third snow day home from work) in a week. Nature is certainly celebrating winter fiercely this past week, and if you love snow, you are loving this. I love snow, so I am happy. I also celebrate today because it is Imbolc/Groundhogs Day/St. Brigid’s Day, the official half way point of winter, midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The darkest times are behind us, and the lengthening days are getting more and more apparent. One of my chickens has started laying eggs again after taking three months off, and soon the seeds in my greenhouse will be ready to grow. I’ve played my hand well this winter, and it feels right to be slowly coming back to life here at the start of February after a deep and sustained pause during the darkest months.

IMG_2146Yesterday I joined my friend C for a ski in Acadia National Park on the carriage roads. She’s an endurance athlete, and I should know better, but I go anyway. I never ask how far we are going to ski, and at every intersection I say Yes. Celebrate fiercely indeed. Nearly 15 miles and three and a quarter hours later we’d gone “Around the Mountain” and were both starving and thirsty, and I for one had pretty much used up my kick wax. The day was perfect though, the kind of day that makes me feel 100% alive; blue sky, white snow, bright sunlight and the dark green of evergreens. That combination goes right inside me and twists up all my innards, pressing itself right on my heart. IMG_2152These are conditions I seek out like a junkie, and mid to late winter is the only time they come around all together here in Maine. On one straight away, gliding south on a slight downhill I stood up straight and put my face to the sun and felt myself dissolve, just for a moment. It was an all too brief instant, like a place and time I passed through as I slid along, and it was the definition of bliss. I tried to stop so I could feel it again, but the perfect dissolution was gone. But that feeling, that is exactly what a day like yesterday is good for, a day so full of sunlight it makes you sick with longing for something you don’t even know. But now I do. I know exactly what bliss feels like.

Our task here on this planet is to put ourselves in the way of that grace, to throw ourselves in front of it and let it run us over. Seek it out in sunlight, moon light, snow storm. Seek it out in a sprouting seed, or a freshly laid still warm egg. Turn your face to it and be ready, it’s coming.


Thanks to Lyanda Lynn Haupt for bringing fierce celebration to my attention.





Sarah O'Malley

About Sarah O'Malley

Sarah is a science educator, naturalist, writer, tide pool fanatic and burgeoning obsessive trail runner. From personal experience she believes strongly in the restorative power of contact with nature, especially experiences that make your heart beat a little faster or get your hands and feet dirty. She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula with her husband and two dogs.