Wednesday, December 22, 2010
They say that celebrations of the Solstice gave salve to the fear of our ancestors who, after the warmth of the growing season faded, became afraid in the long dark that is winter.
Now that quaint need has diminished, they say; and with our modern-man mastery of the elements (save for Nature's Finest Efforts), the fear factor has all but disappeared (save for that interminable, nervous wait during power outages during Nature's Finest Efforts). We have matured, right? With technology and our knowledge of Things, why celebrate the season's turning? Is Solstice relevant, or simply a quaint effort by some to capture an absent glory?
I ask myself these questions in the bustle of my everyday. But the answer that comes consistently is clear: No, not quaint, but very necessary-- necessary most especially now, when we are most disconnected from the very things that feed us, that make us whole. The precious things that make us fully human.
How precious it is to connect with something so "simple" as light.
Yesterday, my little family met the winter full-on: we walked all morning in the cold of it, the glorious snow of it; we fired up the oven, and baked warmth and wonderful smells. We greeted our city neighbors and played among all the wild things that normally we think hidden. We exchanged presents by the twinkle of our Yule tree. And then, this morning? This morning I understood the real gift was our ending the technology-imposed, hubris-filled "separation", of consciously deciding to embrace-- and celebrate-- exactly what was.
It takes a lot for me to remember to turn off the convenience of distraction, meet flame to candle and sit with loved ones to laugh through, and contemplate, the dark and cold of winter. And when I finally do remember? The "convenience" fades to make room for something far greater: Joy. I wish the very same for you!