Thursday, November 20, 2014

Daylight Savings Time

I dread the “fall back” clock changes of the Daylight Savings Time cycle.  The references to increasing darkness and lessening light set off ripples of loss—of what has been and will not be.  Of holidays that are manically portrayed as happy, yet cause so much grief to so many.  Of aging. Of dwindling resources. Of troubling politics.  It is hard to hold hope in this season sometimes.

There is a place in Ireland, Bru na Boinne, that is an ancient man made mound with a burial cave in the center.  It is so dark and still at its heart, that it is hard to discern what is a human heart beat and what is the earth’s.  It is as quiet as a grave, and as still as a waiting womb.  At a particular time of the Winter Solstice, if the sun is shining, a piercing ray of light will enter through a door lintel and penetrate to the center with such blinding brilliance, the chamber looks leafed with solid radiant gold. For 17 precious minutes of awe, the light sustains.  To the Neolithic culture of the mounds, this moment was a symbolic re-enactment of fertilization, a reminder that the dark is a place of growth and the cycle of life is unremitting and relentless.

As autumn days dim and my human spirit quakes that the light might not return to the day, to the world, to my life or to the lives of those I sit with, I remember this place, and gratefully breathe in the wisdom of the Crone archetype, beautifully captured in this poem:

To be of the Earth is to know
The restlessness of being a seed
The darkness of being planted
The struggle toward the light
The pain of growth into the light
The joy of bursting forth and bearing fruit
The love of being food for someone
The scattering of your seeds
The decay of the seasons
The mystery of death
And the miracle of birth.  (by J. Soos)

So in this season, when the light fades and the cold creeps in, when I am vulnerable to questioning hope, I try to remember the life of a seed, where dark stillness can feel like an end, but is the incubator of quickening newness.  We don’t know what will emerge, but if we can see the darkness as a rich loam and stay present to our experience, we enter the cycle of life, where loss makes way for new, hope is birthed from despair, and dreams can unfold to become real.

May this wintering time be a season of patient incubation and tending what wants to be “born.”

-Monica Robinson, MSW, LCSW

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