The fields lay fallow, the crops are harvested, and the darkness grows each day as we move toward the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. For me, this is a melancholy time of the year, when lingering twilight sends me spinning back to ancient times, remembering the need to keep the hearth fires burning, and the food stored to feed us against the winter hunger.
There are, however, gifts hidden away in the raw dirt of the fields, in the woodpile stocked against the cold, and in the darkness that overtakes the light each day.
We are given the gift of time during these dark days: time to be still, to be silent, to reflect on the year passed and to hope for the year to come. We are given the gift of time to savor family and friendship, regardless of how we can connect these days. We are given the gift of time to nourish and cherish ourselves, our traditions, and the world around us.
We are given the gift of creativity during these dark days: creativity not only in the arts, but creativity in terms of fashioning new aspects of ourselves, and in letting go of those parts of us that no longer serve us.
We are given the gift of exploration and learning during these dark days: we have at our fingertips more information than we’ve ever had, and we have opportunity now to glean true wisdom from that information. We must make time to seek the knowledge of the wise ones.
I appreciate this time of darkness, this time of stillness, as the leaves shine brilliant oranges, reds, and golds against the fading light, and the fields are white with frost.
Born of this darkness is hope. As it has since time immemorial, the light will come again, and while I wait, I learn to winter-appreciate before winter comes.