In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. Albert Camus
Every year, on December 21st, my husband announces it is winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. In the garden, I see the shedding of leaves. Beneath the earth, there is an energy brewing that whispers to me I will bloom soon from the bulbs I planted in the fall.
Every season has a purpose. For me, winter is the one where we go inward, hibernate if you will, restoring our souls and the seeds of life, getting ready for the burst that happens in spring. It’s a pointed reminder that we must rest, get quiet, and listen. If we don’t, how do we prepare for the brilliant show of color and rebirth that happens in the spring?
In this painting, the Seat of Wisdom, there is a conversation brewing between me and a wise angel and her companion, the owl. The winter moon casts its light, and the powerful maple tree stands quietly over them. I stare at the painting, constantly engaged in the artist dance of shadow and light, hoping to get a glimpse of the answer to my ceaseless question to the guests that reside there: what are you trying to tell me? The answer to my question, I suspect, lies somewhere in this simple but complex demonstration of nature’s forces.
To quote Rumi: The garden does not lose its ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous. I feel a similar stir deep below in me. The seeds planted this season and in the many seasons before are quaking. They will break from the shell soon and make the slow but steady climb to the surface. Imagination as well as nature give us powerful metaphors on how to live life all the time.
This holiday season is a time to nurture the many opportunities that reveal themselves to us. They are the seeds that lie dormant, not dead, waiting for our care. It is the shelter animal curled in the corner of a kennel needing a home. A lonely senior who has no one and needs a warm meal and a friendly smile. A child told to be silent when what they need is a hug and told they are loved. We have a chance each moment to bring the light where there is none and to nurture hope so that ourselves and others are reminded to never give up.
Darkness isn’t bad. Yes, it is light we crave, but even we must take the time to sleep so that we can awaken to new start. We must never forget we cannot know light without the dark. Afterall, winter is the contrast to the spring that always comes.