Sunday, December 16, 2007

Winter Solstice: Walking into Light

Quickly we are closing in on the long nights of winter and readying for their exchange into longer days. Living at 58.5 degrees of latitude in the Canadian north, I am experiencing a strong appreciation for the extremes in light and dark. Both have such beauty. Both remind me that my journey is also all of our journey around the sun.

The darkness seems to have enveloped me this month. When I go to work the sky is a deep navy blue black and the moon sits proud just to the east of my drive. The still invisible horizon shows no hint that the sun is anywhere to be found. As I return home, so does the darkness. A blanket of charcoal grey slides into the dark of night and settles evenly around. Everything is crisp and frozen and crunches loudly beneath my feet in juxtaposition to all I can no longer see.

In the past, the night has not always been my companion. I recall waiting anxiously for the day that marks the change. For the hours of light to lengthen and the other to diminish. But for some reason, this year is different. Perhaps I have been so busy that the embrace of night is a comfort. Perhaps it is how it seems to slow down time and gives me room to breath. Perhaps something inside of me is just not ready to move on.

Long before the impingement of Christendom, the winter solstice was celebrated the world over by almost every culture and civilization. Somewhere around the 4th century, the sun and the son got lost in translation. For thousands of years, people have gathered to reverence the renewal and rebirth of the waning sun as it waxes to full strength. I find myself not quite ready, I'm not yet done with the darkness.

Life is an overlapping, interweaving series of events. For me, in this place and time, I have been asked by a small still voice to listen to the crunching snow beneath my feet and to watch the morning sky filled with moon and stars. To reaffirm and provoke the beliefs that I need to challenge.

“I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.” Richard Wright

1 comment:

Shus li said...

I am enjoying your observations on solstice, too, particularly, "I find myself not quite ready, I'm not yet done with the darkness."

I don't know your age; I just entered my 5th decade this year and more and more I enjoy the long, thoughtful darkness of winter. It seems to be related to my age...