It is nearly winter. If the fall seems like a long, silent walk into darkness, winter is the corridor through which one must pass to return to the light. Tonight we step fully into that corridor. I feel it in a dozen ways, this deepening cold, but nowhere deeper than in my bones.
As much as I want to shake it off, this cold has settled. The autumn months are shifts of weight and light and my body carries a heaviness this morning. Short days and long nights. This should be a time of silent, purposeful renewal.
I am stumbling through the changes in my life. I wonder if I’m the only one who believed I could take charge of those things outside of myself and somehow mold them into some favorable, useful thing. I don’t blame myself for thinking that. Ultimately, that is exactly what will happen, but not in the orderly way I imagined. It happens somewhere inside each turn of the kaleidascope. Or, perhaps, like a Polaroid picture beginning as nothing then slowly revealing an image. It happens, this revelation of things, just not on my schedule.
On this, the shortest day, I sat alone in a quiet room. The sky is angry and dark outside but here inside this room, the walls are bathed in orange and gold from the salt lamp on the small white table. I sit in the chair I picked up from a business on my route a year ago. It’s nothing special. I got it to help with Kelly’s rehab and it served a necessary purpose. Who knew it might be useful to me in other, ordinary ways.
Emerging from that room I allow my mind to wander. I laugh when I think of how my niece makes lighthearted fun of my near obsession these days with light. Often this summer I rose early, in astronomical twilight, to catch the birth of the day. I walked through woods as the sun rose, I caught the dance of light in leaves and puddles and on rocky, rooty trails. I watched life emerge from ruin.
There is something hopeful in the light.
In these last several weeks I am learning which light to follow. I am surprised by how I’m feeling and painfully aware of the many things indicating change and departure from the past. I thought I had it all figured out.
My art is changing.
My heart is changing. Being true to both is what is in front of me.
Moving forward in light isn’t a negotiation. Moving forward isn’t a re-imagining of the past. Moving forward is one step in front of the other. Moving forward is “leaning into” and not “leaning away from”.
I’ll sit with a candle tonight as the time of solstice approaches. At 4:18 pm the sun will set on the shortest day. At 8:19 pm, the winter solstice arrives.
At Stonehenge, it is only during the solstice that anyone is allowed inside the circle of stones. If there is one place on earth I’d want to go, it would be here, inside this sacred circle at solstice.
I welcome the darkness for what follows.