At the winter solstice the Sun travels the shortest path through the sky, and that day therefore has the least daylight and the longest night.
Last night I participated in a meet-up titled Still Point, a reference to that longest night on its way to us. Sixty minutes of spontaneous art shared with a half-dozen other folks on a Zoom screen.
Art has a way of enveloping time.
Making it disappear.
After the session ended, I happened on a phrase in a book which referenced “befriending darkness.”
It struck me that on the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, many beautiful songs are written about light arriving into a dark night. Celestial light, sunlight, starlight, human-made light, the light of song, the light of inspiration . . . so many forms of light.
It leaves me wondering . . .
What does it mean to befriend the darkness?
What does it mean to befriend our grief?
One author proffers these thoughts:
Within this darkness, we become porous to another world. A crack or fissure appears in these times of sorrow, allowing us to touch other worlds, if only for a moment. We are granted a glimpse of a larger reality, far beyond the scope of our daily lives. For some, this is an entry into the sacred world, one filled with awe and wonder. For others, it is the confirmation of an intuition that there exists another world behind this world. [Excerpt from The Wild Edge of Sorrow by Francis Weller]
One day we will know for ourselves . . . experience for ourselves what happens at the moment of our death. But for now, who knows?
The porous “other” world for me is the world without you in it, my love. A world with your voice missing, the smell that is uniquely you, the soft place to lay my head and the strong arms that faithfully embraced me. Not here.
The world without you in it is the concrete world I live in now.
What crack, or fissure, is my own sorrow? It arrives without warning, opening first the part of my heart where I hold my wound like a treasure in a locked box deep within. Treasure. It opens next the ducts in my eyes where flowing liquid reminds me to flow with this new life I live.
Time stands still in these moments and I do well to be.here.now.
Weller says that some are granted a glimpse of a larger reality “far beyond the scope of our daily lives.” Our lives accented by seasons, reasons; our lives, private and public, rich in meaning, at times poor in imagination; alive with possibility or dead energy that scoops us up and pours our weary selves into our beds amid a coma of numbness.
Perhaps the glimpse of a larger reality is just noticing nature around us and taking in a slightly deeper breath . . .
. . . and what of light?
Does light call us in the darkness of grief, or do we call it to ourselves?
Does it arrive as surely and silently as pre-dawn?
Do we even notice?
Surprising spaces where reason rises to meet us.
Hidden in “NOTES” with a directional sign of “3” this jewel of wisdom is found.
Primary satisfactions are the basics of our lives, matters essential to our well-being: how to welcome children into our world, how to give thanks, how to help our youth move through the whitewater of adolescence into adulthood, how to grieve together, and how to replenish and renew the world. These practices address how we can assure an adequate measure of belonging in one another and how we can maintain an intimacy with our inner and outer worlds….Wild Edge of Sorrow, Francis Weller
Thank you, Francis.
You named it.
Walking with grief is an act of daily courage that can help us to maintain an intimacy with our inner and outer worlds.
Note to self: Keep going.