Winter Solstice Pantoum
I can free myself and let the artifice blow away in the wind. The eyes of my soul can illuminate the black of night. I will let my heart be broken by my own frozen landscapes; I am its creature and I love it. The eyes of my soul can illuminate the black of night: The whisper of the unbroken child, the wild girl yet to be tamed, who shouted and climbed trees, singing to the gale like a sailor. I am its creature and I love it. (Still quaking a little with trepidation) The whisper of the unbroken child, the wild girl yet to be tamed, who shouted and climbed trees, singing to the gale like a sailor; I am its creature and I love it. Still quaking a little with trepidation, I can free myself and let the artifice blow away in the wind.
by Celeste Boudreaux, December 2021
This past Tuesday, December 21st, was the winter solstice, the day of the year in which the day is the shortest and night the longest. Our normal way of dealing with the long nights of winter is resisting them, and we have many means of doing so. We have 24-hour electric lights, endless electronic distractions, and, at this time of year, shopping, parties, and all kinds of holiday activities. But perhaps all this excessive celebrating is contrary to the natural wisdom of these long nights of winter. If we look to creation, God made four seasons: spring is a time of birth, new growth and blossoming; summer brings a deepening and maturity to spring’s growth, ripe fruit, and hot, languid days; autumn is a time for both gathering in (the harvest) and letting go (trees’ leaves).
And winter is a season in which the land, the trees and plants, and many animals rest. They slow way down, draw inward, and conserve energy, even while they prepare for the new life of spring. Acorns, seeds and bulbs hide within the dark earth. Trees such as apple and other fruit and nut trees, berry bushes and many flowers will not germinate until they have experienced a sufficient winter frost. Mammals often hibernate in the winter, as do even some birds and reptiles. Away from cities and places of busy human habitation, nature seems to slow down and become hushed and quiet during the chill of winter, especially during those long, dark nights.
Rather than fighting off this natural darkness and the cold and quiet of this season, what if we entered into it so see what treasures it holds? Could we find ways to slow down, to make more time and space for reading and introspection? Are there new ideas that need to gestate within us, developing slowly until they are ready to come forth? Perhaps the darkness does not necessarily mean sightlessness, only being patient enough to wait for our eyes to adjust to a different way of seeing?
Or perhaps the darkness of the long nights calls for us to take the time to grieve our losses — to stop glossing over them, minimizing them, or avoiding them with relentless busyness? As I was pondering this recently, what came up for me was the way I was, as a girl, mercilessly “civilized” and taught to behave as a lady, to hide any unattractive emotions or contrary opinions at the expense of having — or even knowing — my own voice. Perhaps part of my recovering my wild, younger self in all her playful exuberance is mourning her death, but also believing in the possibility of her resurrection? What form will her Tinkerbell spirit take in me at this time in my life?
And what about you? What wisdom does the winter solstice have to teach your heart?
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