View from My Kitchen Window, WInter Solstice, 2013
It's a lot to ask, I know, to consider slowing down some today in honor of the solstice. To consider stopping even, right there in your busy tracks, and looking for the sun which may or may not be not be shinning very brightly where you are. You may have to find the solstice in the blueness of shadows, in their thinness and length. You may have to find it in the muted beauty of a bare branch. You may have to notice it in the rugged green of a leaf of kale, or in sackfuls of turnips and potatoes, or in the smell of cinnamon and ginger and cardamom.
The sun found me on solstice morning, came shining right in through my kitchen window. So I put down my knife and pulled up a chair and let it fall across my face for a moment or two. My solstice celebration. It took a minute for the knots and energy of my busy morning to loosen and fall away from my body. It took a minute or two more for my mind to unspool some, and for my thoughts to settle to a quiet simmer on the back burner.
For a moment, a briefest moment, there was nothing but the sensation of sun on my face, still so powerful and necessary, even on its darkest day. Still able to give warmth and tinge the black of my shut eyes a velvety orange. For a beat or two there was perfect silence. No refrigerator hum, no upstairs neighbor's chair scraping her floor, no car horns or bird song. Just light and breath. Just light and life.
And then, like it does, the thought-pot started to burble up and over and the cat with its jingly bell ran beneath the window and the whole machine whirled back into action. Light and dark, stillness and animation, silence and the enormous clamor of a human life. Not so much opposites but different aspects of a wholeness and therefore to be held equally essential and of value.
In our busy modern lives, there isn't much request for stillness and silence. Very little of the world we construct around us asks us to sit down and unhook from all of our doing and being and scheming. It's quite the opposite, in fact.
So even though it's a lot to ask, I hope you remember to find a moment to pause on this winter solstice weekend. To put down your knife or your pen or your computer and turn towards the sun, wherever you can find it. May it loosen your shoulders and unspool your thoughts and may the hush and stillness settle in, if even for a moment or two. Actually, it's quite simple: only thing you have to do is pull up a chair and to raise up your face up and let it in.
In Which I Pretty Much Say the Same Thing Every December:
(Image credits: Dana Velden)