Monday, December 21, 2009

Solstice Walk

smell of woodsmoke and wet leaves,
feel of brisk air and misty rain,
dark of evening masking suburbia
as i walk on the evening of solstice


There are plenty of holidays to keep everyone amused this time of year. But for me, winter solstice has the most meaning. This is the longest night. Tomorrow the nights will get shorter, the days will stretch longer bit-by-bit. It marks a turning point that doesn't have retail mania and free shipping.

The leaves have fallen, the nights are darker, and so many things are seemingly in stasis waiting for their next act. And that next act is rebirth, growth, reaching for the sun. It may look like everything is dead, brown, wilted, but there is plenty happening in preparation for the coming of spring. The rain is cleansing, removing the dust, restoring the damp to the ground.

I am not very different. This year has brought me many things. The arrival of fall marked many of them. As the leaves fell from the trees, I was uncovering aspects of myself that I had hidden or been unable to acknowledge. And walking in the rain is as much a metaphor as it is a physical sense of renewal.

I was a duck with one flat foot firmly nailed to the floor -- moving in circles. The scenery wasn't changing and I hadn't really noticed. I was too busy moving in my little circle, doing my daily deal, taking care of everything around me. Then the late summer sun glinted off that nail on that duck foot of mine. And I looked up and realized so much of the scenery was too familiar. And I looked down and saw the circular path I'd worn in the floor.

Wow.

So I've set about using new tools to pry up that nail so I can remove myself from that circular groove and move forward. Maybe not in a straight line. The best journeys are those where you can experience the scenery, stop and take the side roads, meet the characters along the way, and remove the time-bound sense of "gotta get there." 

Some of these tools have surprised me -- they were always there and I just couldn't name them. I put too-specific meanings on words like spirituality and faith such that I couldn't use them. I released the words from that binding. Now, just being able to integrate those concepts and those words in a way that has meaning for me has created a new energy and a relief that I can't really describe.

I set that darn nail pretty well. I've always been thorough. Removing it is a process. But I have maps to guide me through the steps that will take me there.

Unlike before, I also know that I don't have to be little miss tough girl and do it all on my own. That admitting my own challenges takes more strength than combating them alone.

On this evening of the solstice, I have walked in the rain, smelled the woodsmoke, and found clarity in the cold air. And for me, that is celebration.

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