The Gravity of Darkness
I welcome the darkening nights of fall into winter.
That gradual gathering of the long full skirt of darkness,
faithfully orchestrated by earth’s dance with sun,
the diminishing of light and warmth
that makes me want to snuggle in and slow down,
sigh away the demands of sunnier days,
and allow the restless fragments of my life
to coalesce into remembrance.
And so, I fall
into the gravity of darkness
that calls me ever more deeply
into oneness with God.
This wintry retreat into darkness that leads to new light is, for me, a time to pause and align with the rhythms of the earth and allow the stillness of the season to take me ever more deeply into Oneness.
This ancient dance of nature can be challenging to follow in a world that promotes the jolly and harried buzz of a commercialized Christmas. A far cry from the ways of those that lived, or may still live, close to the earth.
Many years ago, I was commissioned to create imagery for a calendar. The theme was to relate the senses of the seasons to the senses of the soul. As one of three artists, I was assigned four months, one from each season.
For winter, I created a mandala-like image with four barren trees circling around the paper, their roots converging into a central swirling sun-like image. Not until after I painted it, did I realize the deeper meaning. I somehow became aware that trees grow their roots in the winter. I had never before wondered when trees grow their roots. But I delighted in this discovery and marveled at its metaphor.
I saw that, like trees, we too grow our roots in the wintry seasons of our lives. Those seasons that make us journey deeper to the One that is always pulsing within, nourishing our existence, and strengthening us to stand more strongly in the world.
The year of 2020 was a collective season, with everyone experiencing their own degree of wintry weather. It has been an invitation to come together—within and with others—amidst challenging conditions capable of pulling us apart.
Yet the trees still stand, offering their wisdom. Their wintry pause from the world takes them into the root of their existence, where unbeknownst, a quiet deepening is going on, in preparation for the new growth of spring.
In 2020 and beyond, the persevering pulse of life continues. New ways of being are imagined, new journeys have begun, new life is born.
Winter can arrive in our lives at any time throughout the year. Yet, I am grateful for the one that nature provides, taking me into the darkness to remember ever more deeply the light of God within.
— Laura Elliott