Almost Winter Solstice here! We got our first snow the other day, just a few inches, but enough to brighten the ground. It is good. It seems the long cold nights are infiltrating my spirit, and I feel weary. As I get older, it is harder to rejoice in the season of winter–ice has tripped me up on prior walks, and bruised my bones. COVID has limited our ability to welcome guests into our home, and it is too frigid for visits in the garden. Last week, our heat pumps suddenly stopped working, and we turned to our back-up boiler, but it seemed a little clanky from disuse, so we fired up our wood stove. That sounds cozy, but I find the wood smoke gives me headaches. (Thankfully, the heat pumps were repaired in two days.)
I feel old and cranky and tired with this season. It is ironic that pagan myths often assign this season to an old woman. I wonder if the winter crone is cranky? I am wrestling with how to find the magic of this cold dark season.
I didn’t really feel like getting a holiday tree. But Margy did, so we got this tree from our local food coop. I don’t feel guilty for it being cut, because it was grown for this purpose on an organic tree farm. Seeing how many seedlings try to grow into a new forest in our yard, I know that there can be an abundance of seedlings that naturally never grow up–so this one got to grow to eight feet and then be celebrated. I find myself surprised by how good it feels to have this little tree with us in the house, like a connection to the natural world during a time when that connection is harder to feel. I feel grateful to Margy for pulling us into its sweet magic.
That is my question. How to find the magic of this cold dark season? Can I quiet my mind, rather than merely entertaining it with stories in books or on screen? (though this has often been a season of stories) Can I open my heart, even if I am far away from most friends and family and other loved ones? (reaching out with letters and cards?) Can I embrace the sorrows and fears of age, of my age, my sorrows and fears, and give them a home in this moment? (hospitality has many forms) Can I embrace the silence? Let myself sink into it, floating down like a snowflake, bury myself in the silence like the plants are buried in snow? Silent night.
I needed your post. I find myself feeling cranky and found your perspective insightful and something to ponder. Thank you.
It is good to know I am not alone… thanks
Soo good to read this tonight here in Michigan. Especially calling me was the question of living with my bluesy mind instead of entertaining it with a novel ( Skipping Christmas) or a television Christmas movie.
I was awake with my grieving last night and finally got up and sat in the dark in front of my frosty window and wrote a poem about my last night with my partner of 38 years as he slipped away 6 weeks ago. I could feel that work calling me for its first revision, but pushed it away. Now I’m inspired to do the necessary work tonight, to heed the call. Thank you. Blessings. Jan
Thank you Jan… feeling connected across the miles… I hope to be able to read that poem when it is ready… in the meantime, I hold you in my prayers during this time of grief…
As usual you captured the ambivalence of this season. Now I feel less an outsider.and somehow less disconnected. I trust you will have moments of sweetness.
May you as well!
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