LIGHT DARKNESS & ACCEPTANCE It is dark even before 4:30 in the afternoon; dark at 4:30 in the morning. Many mornings the sun rises over the mountains just for a little while on snowy days or days wet with curtins of rain, phantoms of fog. The light is more precious then, against the converging grey clouds. We are in a dark tunnel in our approach toward the Light. The darkness is more palpable, moist, and sinuously thick the closer it gets to the time of lightening. It is slow and deeply convulsive, like rivers of lava cascading from the side of a volcano, seeking out and covering each square inch of land. The darkness is like that now. It holds the time of quiet before awakening. In the darkness, we claim ourselves. It is an inward time to discover who we really are. We are fortunate if we can follow discovery with acceptance. The darkness muffles sights and sounds that might be garish, unnerving, while we are in such a newborn state. It holds the power of creation in potential. Just when we cannot bear any more of it, the darkness begins to leaven with a bit more light. We know it is almost time to grow things – food, creativity, love. When the light comes, with it’s transparent, evident ways, there is no hiding. Our time of preparation is over. We must be ready to create, ready to see and be seen. It is gradually an outward time – to create from all that we’ve discovered about ourselves from our time in the womb-like darkness. Yes, we celebrate the return of light, at the same time that we feel nostalgia for the fecund darkness. And then we remember — winter has only just begun! We have sliding scales of both light and dark ahead of us: the lights of Hannukah and Christmas, the deep silence of snow and ice and freezing cold, restricted movement; books, a fire, soft clothes in which to snuggle, stories for young and old. Then, at the end of winter, the first returning bird, the first balmy day, green sprouts, and movement once again, as the last shaky legs of winter are almost bowled over by the newly emerging translucent light giving way to Spring … but wait – let’s go back – for we are just at the beginning, at winter’s cusp. We believe the light will return and we prefer it. It’s easier than darkness. We forget that one enhances the other. We forget how victorious we feel when our own darkness is transmuted, and we are stronger and more compassionate for the experience. Can we accept darkness as the complement to light? Perhaps this darkness and all the shades of grey between light and dark are only waiting to be seen and acknowledged; accepted as we readily accept the qualities of light. Only then can the darkness assume it’s rightful proportions as teacher and companion, and its place as a partner of light. Let us honor the darkness and the light. Let us accept each whenever they are present, the going and coming of them, loving each equally well. It is our gift to love it all – the gift we give and the gift we receive. Blessed Be … thoroughly, this Winter Solstice, 2009