Tag

winter

Solstice.

Turns out that despite how much I love writing a new solstice post each year, my thoughts don’t change much.

Last year, I wrote:

The Winter Solstice is here.

Oh, how I love this day.

Today, after six long months of turning towards the darkness, we began to turn towards the light.

We gain a minute of light each day – and in a time where life can feel very dark, each minute makes a difference.

The earth begins to propel us towards the light, just as the waves in the ocean propel you to shore. We now ride the wave of the earth, as it cradles us and gently moves us towards hope, and energy, and life.

All of those are still truths I hold firmly in my heart.

And now, there are sunflowers too, in my head and on the wallpaper of my phone, reminding me that even before solstice, even before the world pushes us toward the light, we can move ourselves. We can stretch and grow so that even in our darkest moments we are always, always, always reaching for the sun and any light we can find.

Happy Solstice.

Towards the Light (author unknown)

By moonlight,
or starlight,
or in the sun’s bright rays,
I journey,
guiding my way
by keeping to the light
as best I can.
Sometimes all seems dark,
then I remember
how the poppy turns its head,
following the sun’s passage across the sky,
then rests in night’s cool shadows,
bowing in thanks
to whatever power
makes the stalk
stand straight and strong,
drawing deep from its roots
a wine dark love.
In moonlight,
the garden glows,
silvering the poppies.
And even by starlight
you can tell shades of darkness
if you try.
So do not lose heart
when vision dims.
Journey forth
as best you can—
bloom when you are able,
rest when you must,
keep your faith,
keep always
towards the light.

Solstice

 

The Winter Solstice is here.

Oh, how I love this day.

Today, after six long months of turning towards the darkness, we began to turn towards the light.

We gain a minute of light each day – and in a time where life can feel very dark, each minute makes a difference.

The earth begins to propel us towards the light, just as the waves in the ocean propel you to shore. We now ride the wave of the earth, as it cradles us and gently moves us towards hope, and energy, and life.

Happy Solstice.


Towards the Light (author unknown)

By moonlight,
or starlight,
or in the sun’s bright rays,
I journey,
guiding my way
by keeping to the light
as best I can.
Sometimes all seems dark,
then I remember
how the poppy turns its head,
following the sun’s passage across the sky,
then rests in night’s cool shadows,
bowing in thanks
to whatever power
makes the stalk
stand straight and strong,
drawing deep from its roots
a wine dark love.
In moonlight,
the garden glows,
silvering the poppies.
And even by starlight
you can tell shades of darkness
if you try.
So do not lose heart
when vision dims.
Journey forth
as best you can—
bloom when you are able,
rest when you must,
keep your faith,
keep always
towards the light.

Darkness is coming

Oh, you guys.

We turn the clocks back on Saturday night, and you know what that means.

The days get shorter.

It is dark by 4:30. Even by the time our work day ends, when last period ends at 2:23 – it is clear that the day is nearly over. The world becomes muted. Faded. Quick, and yet too long. Fuzzy. Disjointed. Out of sync. Wrong.

I hate it.

I try – I really do try – to be positive, to at least not let things get to me. Oh, I know. It will pass, we go through this every year, get exercise, use your light box.

I’m not looking for strategies.

Because the truth is – it just is really crappy. And not just for me, but for so many people I know.

I feel the lack of light in my bones. Even on a day when I race home from work to get in a half hour walk in the light, the fact is that it gets dark at 4:30, and then I sit on my couch, and I feel it weighing on me. Not even as a depression. But as a heaviness. A compression. A sluggishness. An I just want to nap every afternoon feeling. A million compensatory strategies do not substitute for that beautiful, natural, rhythm of sunsets not happening until 7:30.

This fall I have spent an enormous amount of time and energy into eliminating the internal darkness within me.

I am so thankful I did it now, as I will be that much lighter when the external darkness comes.

It will still be hard.

I am wired to need light. Not bright shining, glaring sun, but light. Sun.

But. So.

All we can do, really, is wait. Wait the 7 weeks or so until my most favorite day of the year – the Winter Solstice. Where we finally turn toward the light. Where no, the darkness doesn’t end, and the yes, cold permeates our bones, but we see the warm, lit path, sparkling with garlands of fairy lights, and we move towards it, knowing it comes out somewhere beautiful.

Goodbye, my beautiful sun. I hope you enjoy your rest. I will miss you – your true self – desperately, and will cherish every moment, however muted and fake-seeming, that I get of you during the short days. I will hold your radiance inside me, as best I can, and I will make my own light. I will miss you every moment and I will bloom again, as the flowers do, when you finally return.

tree-479174_1920 (1)

(image: shockhollywood/pixabay)

Cold.

Did you know that there are different types of cold?

There’s dark, dreary, bitter cold. In the depths of winter, when your body wilts, when it hunches over, curling into itself, trying to conserve energy from moment to moment. This is the cold that wears you down. It’s when you come straight home from work and collapse onto the couch, under a heap of blankets and pillows. You contemplate making tea, but your body begs you, Just don’t move. I don’t have the energy for even that simple task. It’s an emotional, energy-zapping cold.

There’s raw, piercing cold. During a pouring rain in the late fall or early spring. When one moment outside sends stabs of ice into every molecule of your body, no matter what clothing you protect it with. When you’re certain the raindrops will freeze onto your body, forming an ice outline. When the wind shoots raindrops sideways into your face, when the wind and the rain join evil forces to freeze you from the inside out, shattering your Self into zillions of broken ice shards.

And then. There’s beautiful, refreshing cold. This is the cold on a bright winter day. Sometimes after a fresh snow. The sun shines, reflecting off each flake of snow. Your body rises up once again, remembering how tall it can be when it has light. You bundle up, protecting your body, but the cold energizes and revitalizes you. The world is still. The wind has gone to sleep and everything is calm. The only movement is you. Maybe a bird here and there. This is the cold that you breathe in, and it expands into your lungs, filling you with life. The sun and the cold, seemingly opposite life forces, form a partnership that saves you. This type of cold is the one that you crave when you are anxious, when you can’t slow down your mind. You step outside to leave work, or run an errand, or get a change of scenery, and the partnership of the sun and the cold immediately reset you. Rather than painfully freezing you, they gently, but quickly, shock you into an alternative state of being. A reset button. A saving grace. Beauty. Hope. Stillness. Calm.

Solstice. Light.

Every year, I write about loving the Winter Solstice. How I love the concept. The idea that on this day, we turn toward the light. All of us. No matter what’s going on internally. No matter what we are sad about, anxious about. No matter what external events may have happened that make us lose sight of the light. Even if we are struggling to stay positive, or focus on the good. Regardless of all of that? We are turning toward the light. Moving in the direction. Minute by minute – literally, minute by minute. I find it so powerful, so comforting, that no matter what, we can trust the earth, trust the sun, trust the seasons, trust the light. The light is coming. We move toward it.

As always – the poem that I read, and re-read, on this day:

Towards the Light (author unknown)

By moonlight,
or starlight,
or in the sun’s bright rays,
I journey,
guiding my way
by keeping to the light
as best I can.
Sometimes all seems dark,
then I remember
how the poppy turns its head,
following the sun’s passage across the sky,
then rests in night’s cool shadows,
bowing in thanks
to whatever power
makes the stalk
stand straight and strong,
drawing deep from its roots
a wine dark love.
In moonlight,
the garden glows,
silvering the poppies.
And even by starlight
you can tell shades of darkness
if you try.
So do not lose heart
when vision dims.
Journey forth
as best you can—
bloom when you are able,
rest when you must,
keep your faith,
keep always
towards the light.

Trees

IMG_20141214_161351

It’s no secret that I adore looking at, and taking pictures of, skies and trees. This season, though, as winter approaches, I’ve found the trees just as mesmerizing bare and without leaves as they were when vibrant and bright at the peak of the fall foliage. I’ve been thinking about it, and the words that keep coming into my brain are, Trees are so brave.

It used to break my heart to see the leaves fall off the trees. To watch the blindingly beautiful colors drop to the ground, to see the world change from bright and full of life to gray, brown, white, and black. I used to count the days until I saw green on the trees. I felt so sad, seeing the bare trees.

IMG_20141128_104904

But something shifted this year. And I find myself looking up, at the trees, day after day after day. Trees are so brave. They bloom in the spring and summer, allowing themselves to fill with life and hope. In the fall, they simply shine. They don’t compete with each other, they don’t compare against each other. They go all out, being what they are, not judging, not caring what anyone thinks. They are beautiful and they shine. And then, in what is possibly their bravest move yet, they bare their soul. They drop their leaves, reminding me of what is often heard in my yoga classes: “Let go of what no longer serves you.” And the trees just…are. They show themselves to the world. They allow us to see every imperfection, every bump and bruise, every line and wrinkle. And possibly even more stunning than that, is how, through this bareness, we see the sky.

It just makes me feel a bit at peace in my soul, which has been much needed lately. To look up at the tree, and think, Trees are so brave. I can be brave, too. And I can be who I am, and I can be where I am, and I can feel what I feel and think what I think, and I can open myself to the world. And I can stand there, day after day, trusting that I can just be.

IMG_20141214_144354

Solstice.

I love the Winter Solstice. Rather than it being an awful, “ugh, I hate winter” day, it’s a day of light. Of us turning towards the light. It’s the shortest day of the year, but it’s the last day in which we turn towards darkness. Each following day brings one more minute of light. I love that knowledge, that we are gaining more and more light each day, that despite how cold or bleak the day may be, the focus is the light. I love tomorrow.

This is one of my most favorite poems, that seems to encompass not only daily life in general, but the idea behind December 21:

Towards the Light (author unknown)

By moonlight,
or starlight,
or in the sun’s bright rays,
I journey,
guiding my way
by keeping to the light
as best I can.
Sometimes all seems dark,
then I remember
how the poppy turns its head,
following the sun’s passage across the sky,
then rests in night’s cool shadows,
bowing in thanks
to whatever power
makes the stalk
stand straight and strong,
drawing deep from its roots
a wine dark love.
In moonlight,
the garden glows,
silvering the poppies.
And even by starlight
you can tell shades of darkness
if you try.
So do not lose heart
when vision dims.
Journey forth
as best you can—
bloom when you are able,
rest when you must,
keep your faith,
keep always
towards the light.

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