The Seduction of Winter
It is the bleak mid-winter...straight up. Now that I'm both tending bees and a pond, I have a much greater awareness of the details of winter. And despite how many of us, in this western world, view winter, so much happens at this time. We just can't see it. The irony of our perception vs. the reality of it all is that, without these still, bare moments, nothing would happen...ever. And it's worth our effort to re-train our minds to allow for the extraordinary activity that happens in the subtle realms. In our subtle realms as well as the wild world's and the season's. It's not business as usual. Our commerce might enforce this 24/7/365 notion, but we will not shift the way The World conducts its business. Likely, we will be evicted as poorly behaving tenants long before The World changes its ways.
I have started a meditation: sitting by the pond here at The Center watching the persistent waterfall flow down over moss rock into an ice-covered pool, watching bubbles under glass, listening to water sliding along the underside of the ice, counting bird tracks in the snow on the surface. On sunny days I can see the plants.......still alive down there.......under the ice.
That is a miracle. Really. Plants alive under the ice.
I imagine: what, of this, is happening in me right now? What of me is under the ice, still green and thriving? Thriving in a way that I/we don't necessarily account for, because it can't be seen. It doesn't have an overt gesture or offering. It can't be measured......yet. But it's so beautifully sexy, this subtle realm. Quietly whispering it's plans for the future. We have to want it. Wait for it. Imagine it.
I am so grateful for the ones who hold watch but don't seem to change their ways through winter's decent. Like the Nichuburs in the Inanna tale, there are ones who stay wild and alive during this hibernation, as if to keep watch, as if to remind the hibernators to come back....don't go down forever....remember Life. In our backyard, the purple finches are those watchers. They are loud, irreverent and pugnacious as ever. Errant taupe and purple feathers flying amok as they careen around the cottonwood, dive bombing the dog, the cats and each other to fight for what they surely must know (by now) is a never-ending supply of chipped sunflower seed. They have their directive, old as the mountains. It takes a sub zero day to humble them into submitting to Winter.
So here is the thing I find most difficult about Winter. Actually, as a born and bred New Englander, transplanted to this strange craggy dry place, there isn't anything I don't like about Winter. Except....I haven't learned how to allow myself to hibernate as well. Somehow I have imagined that this season's directive applies to everyone and everything but me. So as I lay on the Earthquake Man's chest late last night - after our combined efforts got one of our 18 year old's math homework completed, the other 18 year old's car keys liberated out of his locked car, the two younger kids through their homework, basketball practice, everyone through dinner including the elkhound, and even a competitive round of Set and a group viewing of some really questionable material found through Stumble-Upon, not to mention the EQM preparing for another pre-dawn departure to the airport - after all that, I found myself laying on his chest and carving into myself about all the things that I don't get done in a day, a week, perhaps even this lifetime. This is not the season for this conversation, even if some of my complaints about myself are true. This is the season to simply take stock, notice what has happened, and what wants to happen......soon. And to carry on quietly, relentlessly, without a lot of fuss, trusting in the work that gets done in subtle realm of a thing's becoming.
Winter whispers: Write the book....just write it. And ponder the next one. Sit with your children, your clients. Make warm dinners and make love...a lot. And don't forget the elkhound. Don't take your eyes off what is green and thriving, so miraculously, under the ice.