The Last Days

I’m lying in bed this morning watching the snow fall through the dove gray light.  No sunshine although the light came on schedule a little after seven.  Here on the north slopes of the Cascades, we take the Solstice seriously.  A frigid vigil as the sun rises, 108 Sun Salutations, a fire circle ceremony in a ring of candles and song.  Everyone  has their own way of celebrating the end of the darkness and the return of the light–the minute(s) slivers of daylight added to each day as winter arrives.

It’s a paradox.  The dark days of winter start with autumn’s arrival and lift with winter’s. Winter stretches itself into light like a cat until the equinox at the start of spring.

We’re counting down the remnants of the calendar year, but the seasons, older than this conceptual map of days, weeks and months, tell us all we need to know.  The cycle is closing to begin again. Circle inward, beings of light.  Let your hearts warm and shine you through these winter days and nights.

A poem for the Solstice

Out of the Long Night

After a day of snow, sun.
In my small south facing room
great thumps of avalanche
from the roof.   Window
lights my face, lifts me up
to welcome the directions,
the elements.  Smoke from
the censor fragrant with myrrh,
frankincense.  I turn clockwise,
east to east while the pines
drip and the sky stands
still in all this turning.
Clouds mark the journey.

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to light
Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel!

The words are seeds in memory
blooming this morning, small
bright shards in my heart, open,
open, to welcome the coming.

Rejoice.  Rejoice.  Rejoice.