Sunday, October 2, 2011
Working in the Dark
Friday morning. An hour or so before sunrise. Cold dew clings to my toes. It's a work day, but I'm in my back yard, hanging sheets on the line. There's so little light, I'm working by feel. Square corner to square corner, pegged. Pillowcases snapped out, my fingers doing the dance of setting them against the line and attaching the pins, all without conscious thought.
The forecast said rain for the weekend, and for the forseeable future. I need to have one last week sleeping surrounded by the scent of outdoors, on the soothing scratchiness of line dried sheets.
It takes less than ten minutes. Toby wandering just out of sight, happy to have company, not needing more than that. The air holding a distinct bite. I look up at one point, survey the sky. Big Dipper, summer companion since childhood, to the north. Orion, a winter constellation, to the south. I take a deep breath that tastes like mountain streams.
My task done, toes beginning to numb, I move slowly toward the house. I'm reluctant to let go of this feeling of connection, freedom, mystery. Reluctant to step back into this life I've accepted, but that I still don't see the purpose of. Not the larger one - the one that holds my dreams at its center.
Wishing to stay a while longer in this moist glittering darkness that seems to understand. Delaying the return to artificial light, soon to be the primary light available for months to come.
I send a prayer to a friend who died this week, and to her family. She'd lived a long and full life. Even so, it's too soon.
Summer fading into fall, the season of dying. Not death itself, which is winter. But the season of transition from one form of life to another. Days shorten. Nights lengthen. Sunlight visits from time to time as a reminder that it will always return. Darkness beckons, offering a place to heal, a safe protected nest for transformation.
On this morning, for maybe the first time, I release my longing for the light. Trust it will come to dry my sheets when I'm gone into the world . Trust it to return as summer in due time as I set out to explore what the darkness has to teach me. Orion will travel across the sky in the months to come, my companion for winter, my reminder that beauty and meaning exist even in the darkest of nights.