Today is Winter Solstice, the day of the year with the most hours of darkness and first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Translated from Latin, solstice means “sun stand still” because at Solstice time, the sun’s path across the sky appears to freeze.
This perfectly reflects how I’ve been feeling as well as what nature mirrors for us. I crave rest. I don’t want to be doing all the things I’m doing. I don’t really even want to think. I want to be still like the sun, nestle in the comfort of darkness, and just be. Maybe you can relate.
This poem by Mary Oliver reminds me that the pleasure is in the moment, not in figuring the moment out. It encourages me to make some time to be in stillness, in nature, in grateful appreciation for all that’s true and beautiful, no doing or thinking required.
by Mary Oliver
Last night, an owl
in the blue dark
an indeterminate number
of carefully shaped sounds into
the world, in which,
a quarter of a mile away, I happened
to be standing.
I couldn’t tell
which one it was –
the barred or the great-horned
ship of the air –
it was that distant. But, anyway,
aren’t there moments
that are better than knowing something,
and sweeter? Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness. I suppose
if this were someone else’s story
they would have insisted on knowing
whatever is knowable – would have hurried
over the fields
to name it – the owl, I mean.
But it’s mine, this poem of the night,
and I just stood there, listening and holding out
my hands to the soft glitter
falling through the air. I love this world,
but not for its answers.
And I wish good luck to the owl,
whatever its name –
and I wish great welcome to the snow,
whatever its severe and comfortless
and beautiful meaning.
Happy Solstice, happy holidays of all sorts. I wish you the gift of being.