Saturday, December 22, 2012

Longest Night

Perhaps the Winter Solstice wasn't the longest night in our personal 2012.  Maybe it was when a loved one died, when a child was sick, when a relationship withered, when something precious was lost or broken.  For the residents of Newtown, their longest night came a full week before the official astronomical event.

The wisdom and the comfort of the Winter Solstice is that it's nature's own reminder of the intimacy of light and dark -- like the front and back foot in walking, says Sekito's poem.  We'd find it silly to believe that only the front foot makes progress, especially since the propulsion and momentum come from the back foot.  Just so, our lives don't move at all unless light and dark are both present, waxing and waning to their own rhythm regardless of our calendared highs and lows.

Zen Master Dōgēn said not to call winter the beginning of spring.  But maybe he was wrong.  For as much as winter's long night connotes death and decay, it also invites rest and surrender to the nourishment of the dark, rich earth -- without which spring's exuberant creativity couldn't happen at all.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Valorie,

I finally began to read your blog with this post and then read backwards. I love how you weave poetry (your use of words and images) and dharma. You capture the essence of solstice for me in this entry. When I curl up in bed, wanting more sleep than usual, I think of the bulbs underground, sending roots into the dark soil.

Tova

Sierra said...

"...without which spring's exuberant creativity couldn't happen at all." A wonderful reminder :)