Ann Keiffer


I have just crawled out of the bottom of the year.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but for
me, something descends with the holidays,
something I get hold of or it gets hold of me.

And it takes me down to the bottom of the year.
It’s dark at the bottom of the year, no matter
how many lights I plug in or candles I light.
There is this something that encompasses me,

and I fall with it down the black hole of
the holidays, where I stay dark, only dimly
aware of the celebrations, ceremonies, and
meaningful madness going on up on the

surface. I am alone there, mute, undone, done
in, unreachable. Years ago a wise way-shower
encouraged me to go out into the natural world
and observe what nature is doing in winter,

what nature might have to teach me about the
season of wintering. I went, with my journal
tucked under my arm, my senses open to
every secret held in the deep-nature of winter.

Nature spoke to me with stillness, low light,
bare trees, a sense of quiet waiting, leaves
having let-go and decomposing, reeds bent
and pliant, the air quick-silver clear, frozen-

bright, and somewhere the creatures in their
holes and dens, hidden away where no one
could see them. How like my own nature in
winter. Except for the fact I actively resist my

instincts. I fall down the hole of hibernation,
but refuse to hibernate. I experience it as
isolation, sadness, my dark time of the year.
I remember and forget, remember and forget.

How can I remember and remember when
falling time comes round, that I am not a
creature separate. I am part of nature, one
with her rhythms, like everything else,

in need of quiet rest, low light, pliantness
and spareness? Because if I do not do my
wintering willingly, in seasonal synchrony,
all darkens and becomes something else.

Ann Keiffer
January, 2015

Image: Adapted from


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

Recent Poems

Buy My Book