Winter is here. The clocks have been turned back. The sun sets before 5:00pm. The overnight temperatures are below freezing, and the daytime ones are barely above freezing. No snow. Just dead leaves being tossed around by the wind.
My house is dark and quiet when I return home. The silence weighs heavily in the room as I set down my computer bag and take off my coat. My evening passes: dinner, dishes, grading, emails, etc. The contrast of the darkness and cold to my inner abode seems almost surreal. Something stirs. And I know….
This is the time without light; the dark half of the year. Once, we had fires to keep us warm with our tribes we told the stories of old and watched the flickering flames. Now, we have light bulbs and a flickering screen to watch behind our silent walls. Yet, this time is a blessing too. A time of hibernation; a time for an account and reckoning of the prior year’s endeavors and planning for the year to come.
In this time, while others scurry to the malls, I pause to invite the light in by turning on another light and lighting a candle to bless the space. I leave a radio on, so I can walk in the door to the sound of stories and songs welcoming me. I sometimes like to change radio stations just to see how the house feels different with each one.
I take time for myself. With this season of parties and gatherings, I’ve learned to appreciate my quieter space. When I’m overwhelmed by people’s over-the-top displays and behavior, I’ve learned to put in an appearance and then quietly slip away.
Instead, I clean my house, I rearrange, I make plans, I prepare for the adventures to come. I journal and journey as I create the vision of the path before me. I step into the New Year releasing the old and embracing the new.
And I am reminded of how the dark and cold is also a sacred time as I look to each day becoming a lighter a little longer.