December 21st, 2011

This year more than I can remember I’ve been keenly aware of why nearly every northern culture has created an almost tribal, communal celebration in this season, centered around light; and it makes further sense that many of them have been imbued with mystical or spiritual importance. The days are bright and cold, almost brassy in the decreasing sunlight; evening darkness is early, heavy, and very thorough. It is dangerously easy for the single soul to become separated and isolated, crouching around a single bright fire, staring into it. Everything feels charged with unstated importance and a quiet immediacy.

More than one friend remarks that Mercury has been retrograde, putting us into a clamorous cosmic position, but in my case, this whole year has seemed retrograde– starting with signing off on a brief but potent affair, immediately followed by learning of the serious illness of a very old friend, then the death of another friend of thirty years. There was a sinister and weird episode of parking lot insurance fraud in April which led to my insurance getting cancelled when a legitimate accident in July totaled my car. My dog lost an eye, the septic system required sudden overhaul, and just when I thought I might be able to squeak out a safe finish to the year, a bit of arson at a rental property in the city.

There are nine days left to 2011, and if these sorts of things recognize the Gregorian Calendar, I am at least considering a short bid of living like a nun if it will help.

On the other hand, the regional native American tribes consider the solstice to be the indication of the new year, so perhaps I am already there.

Tonight, out here the darkness isn’t just deep, it’s palpable.

It’s very cold, damp, but clear: the tall evergreens turn to black against the sky, a very dark ink blue, small silver stars starting to come into focus.

There are only a few hours left, and I’m happy to send them off, witness them silently burning away, cradling in myself a spirit of openness to what’s to come.

A new season, a new year.

More light.


About Kathleen G. White

Kathleen White is a writer living on the edge of Puget Sound and sizing up the discrepancies.
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