"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Ascent of Light

The days begin to lengthen. A minute or two at a time on each end of the darkness. Just the promise is enough to lift sagging spirits and ease heavy hearts.

The sun owned the sky at the end of yesterday, so the light stayed even longer than it does on the heavy gray wet days that are the norm for our winters. The clouds press down to meet rising fog so that no light or even reflection of light shows through. Only shadows, and those go from kitten gray to coffin black. When the sun does break through, it melts much more than the frost on the ground.

As I do every year at the end of the long dark, in the first true sunlight of a dawning season, I had to resist throwing off every stitch of artificial cover to soak in as much of the promise and weak warmth as possible.

In more than five decades of winters, of living with the rhythm of falling into darkness and slowly rising back into the light, the dark never gets any easier to live with. The days of descent feel endless and suffocating, hopeless and sad. And the minute the ascent begins (I watch for the solstice on my calendar from Thanksgiving on) my heart begins to lift as well.

It's no accident that so many traditions celebrate the coming of Light during this time. Knowing I'm not alone in the darkness provides just enough comfort to make it bearable. Sharing the birth of new light feels like family in the purest sense possible.

Light comes in so many forms: A treasured friend who truly understands and sees. A wide smile shared with a homeless person. A new friend who shares a heartbreaking story from a heart glowing with love and acceptance. The innocent untamed spirit of a young child. An increasingly rare and magical day spent with a friend being dragged further and further into the shadows of mental illness. Easy laughter and good food shared with new friends. Family willing to set aside differences and hurts so that a new tradition of love and acceptance can be created. A husband who cleans up his wife's huge baking mess in the kitchen when she's not looking. A virtual network of friends who are always there to offer love and hope and words (oh the words!) that are their very own form of light.

Light in such abundance is made bright and reflected clearly in the longer days and bright promise of a sun that always returns.

Namaste. May your celebration of Light fill your heart with an overflowing abundance of love, joy and peace.

photo from Flickr


Jerri said...

"May your celebration of Light fill your heart with an overflowing abundance of love, joy and peace."

And also to you, dear friend.

Mark Lyons said...

What a beautiful gift at Christmastime this post is!! Thank you. You detail so perfectly the little things (that are actually big things) that brighten every day and all of our lives.

Merry Christmas Sis...I love you!!

Jessica Nelson said...

First, I've never met a husband like that in person! LOL But it would be wonderful...
I loved what you said about young children being innocent and untamed. That is absolutely true!
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! You're right about the Light coming into the world. Made me think of the first chapter of John. :-)
Enjoy the ascent!

Janna Leadbetter said...

Namaste, Deb. And love and merry Christmas wishes. Best to you as you find the good in darkness, moving on toward the awakening light.

The Unbreakable Child said...

How beautiful, deb! Merry Christams. x0

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Deb.

I welcome the return of the sun as well. It feeds me.

colbymarshall said...

The other night I was with my best friend and we had a power outage...we lit candles and danced in candlelight...let me tell you, that was one of the brightest moments of my life :-) Lovely post today! I enjoyed it!

Happy Christmas!

Lorna said...

Lovely celebration of the Light, thank you for bringing us the gift of your words -- they are pure poetry. Merry Christmas and peaceful hugs.

Amber said...

Your writing is just always amazing.

And also with you, my friend.


Anonymous said...

I hope you had a beautiful Christmas Deb, and as we come to the end of this month and the start of a new year, I hope the festive and holiday season brings you joy and happiness. I look forward to each insightful post you write.Each post is such a gift.

JOY said...

I've been focusing on the Light also. Your words gather around me as a light shining away darkness. I will light my candles tonight and celebrate flames of light!

May your days be filled with joyful illumination!

Carrie and Deb - said...

"It's no accident that so many traditions celebrate the coming of Light during this time."

Took the words right out of my redundant mouth.

This is vintage Deb writing- beautiful, lyrical, deep, telling, healed.

Rick said...

You have such a gift for teaching, Deb. And it's remarkable how the different seasons can affect us differently. I love this season as a time to study, train, and strengthen. It makes me remember how fragile our existence is and how many people need us, and in particular people with the gift of teaching that you have.

May I ask what you read during these months? I just started re-reading Iyengar's edition of Patanjali's "Yoga Sutras." I love that book. So, to me, I'm thinking what a great time to email you and ask you to post on various spiritual topics that are positive.

By the way, "kitten gray to coffin black" is an incredibly deft use of imagery.

These dark days affect many of my creative friends, though, and my heart goes out to you.


Wanda said...

For some reason this just showed up in my bloglines today! Hope you had a Merry Christmas. I, too, love your writing..."kitten gray to coffin black...." Perfect.