In the final months of 2021, disheartened by personal burdens and the larger world’s chronic chaos, I welcomed the arrival of the dark time of the Earth’s slow-cycling Wheel. Whether the outer or inner realms, it’s a time that invites the release of things that no longer serve, allowing a needed composting. And for this weary Earth Pilgrim what a welcome relief to turn inward and rest. For nearly all of us the now many months of living with the Pandemic had spawned a fatigue of body. mind, and spirit. So Winter’s offering of its quiet, dark days was most welcome for me. It began with weirdly mild weather: a decidedly green Solstice and Holidays. Hard at times to not wonder and worry a bit if this was a sign of climate change. Few birds came to the feeders not really needing this supplement yet. Truth to tell I was glad that the wild ones were enjoying an “easy winter”.
Then January’s second week. As if to reassure us of “normal”, Winter’s snows blustered in and arctic cold descended, silencing the little streams that thread the woods and even hushing the waterfall to a gurgling murmur beneath its ice-jacket. Once my summer-thinned blood thickened and I found the right combination of clothing layers, I welcomed it all. Outdoor work was limited to making sure the bird feeders are well-stocked and the feral cat adequately provisioned in the barn. (…reassuring concerned readers that he has a comfy couch piled with warm blankets…he also doesn’t much care for humans!) I settled gladly into long nights of deep sleep beneath glittering stars. Nightly Orion’s towering form strides west through the vault of the heavens, trailing bright Sirius in his wake. And the blessing especially on sunny days, comfortable in the rocking chair, enjoying the snowy view through the new-last-summer patio door, basking in the Sun like a contented cat. A welcome restoration gently began re-filling what was depleted in me.
January’s Full Wolf Moon was exceptionally dazzling this year. On its fullest night I shared a Zoom call with a dozen women, our zipcodes stretching from my north-edge of the Catskills to western New York and north to Ottawa. Every one of us with clear skies and all exclaiming at Grandmother Moon’s brilliant rays shining into our rural, suburban, and urban windows. For me here at Lightspring Glen the incomparable bonus of silvery moonlight glinting in night-diamonds on the fresh snow.
The year’s Light opens before us more and more with each passing day, Solstice’s December spark and promise faithfully growing. Each day now brings two minutes and a bit more of light. At the close of clear-skied days, evening’s twilight is noticeably longer. How I love its pale lemony golds and pinks lingering in the woods.
We prepare our Welcome for the “cross-quarter” day of Imbolc. Just ahead of its celebration the dark of the Aquarius New Moon offers its contemplative depths, the second New Moon in this first month of 2022. In this last week I was reminded of these lines of poet, Theodore Roethke, “Deep in their roots, the flowers keep the light”. As a world, we are emerging from a long and dark time. I feel this encouraging progress in my bones, admittedly a little shivery on these zero-degree mornings. And from within, from my own sturdy roots, a palpable signal confirms renewing vigor and heart-lifting hopefulness.
This “latest” writing was a very long while in coming. At times during the past year this neglect of my writing was both unsettling and disheartening. But if seeds are planted with care and intent, and hope, shoots will eventually begin to emerge and push up towards the Light. So here is my first word-offering for 2022. My gift to Imbolc. Perhaps there’s a garden to follow, literary and otherwise. I am hopeful. So let us go forward together now into the growing Light and possibilities of this New Year.
Lightspring Glen, Imbolc 2022