Mid-December Morning

I have not had the time to blog for a few weeks. In the time that has passed, Winter has settled in. The days are chill, the nights cold. There are a few inches of snow on the ground. It’s eight a.m., and the sun has just risen over the hill behind our home.

The semester is over. Grades are in; students have headed home for the Holidays. The Solstice arrives Tuesday, along with family.  Christmas is less than a week away. Now, even in the rush of Holiday preparations, we are reminded to slow down and be receptive. To wait.

Our friend, Vicki, has been making deep ritual for the Christmas season for some thirty years. Vicki’s Christmas is a rich time of waiting, of listening to the needs of that which is emerging. At the core of her practice is a forty day period, ending January 6th, Old Christmas. Yet, for Vicki, the waiting begins well before the forty days, and the results of her waiting continue to grow and unfold long after the 6th of January.

On a dark afternoon a few weeks ago, Vicki spoke to my class about her ritual practice. As I look back on that afternoon I am struck by the rapt attention of my students; no texting! I also realize my understanding of the Christmas season was again enriched by her sharing.

In the weeks that have followed my attention has been diverted from expectant waiting by the violent death of a friend, and another friend’s loss of her last parent. Yet another friend suffered a miscarriage. This morning, watching the mid-December sun rise over the hill I am reminded that not all we hold in waiting comes to fruition. I am also reminded we may not  know the full richness of what is born for a long time, perhaps not in our lifetimes.

Last night, under a bright, cloud filled, sky, the occasional flake striking my face, I undertook a shamanic journey for my lost friend. The night’s darkness was radiant, the cold immediate. I was  awash in the vastness of Nature, and the deep peace of the winter woods. Even as the denizens of the woods went about their life-and-death business of living, the forest held profound peace. As I sought to remind my friend the soul can find refuge in such moments, I sensed that neither of our hearts were entirely ready to let go and journey on. I was left with the hope that time will heal her suffering, and doors will open to peace and rebirth free of anger and thoughts of revenge.May it be so for all of us.

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