The Ancient Part of Us

During this time of year, sages and wise teachers encourage us to view winter as an opportunity.  We are told to enter this season of solitude and dark dormancy with a willingness to rest and allow the deep inner-workings of spirit to evolve on their own, knowing that when spring blossoms re-emerge and our own energy returns, we will be all the better for having experienced that quiescence. 

 

Really??

 

I resist every year.  I buck against the fading light, the lack of sun, the chill which will not depart except in the hottest of hot showers.  But almost every year, I also am forced to learn a little more about how to cope with the seasonal changes around me.  This year, I grasp that the “seasonal changes around me” are not, in fact, separate from me.  I’m like the leaves in the trees, which cling to color and stick stubbornly to branches, until after autumn’s abundance they have no choice but to let go. 

 

This unity with our planet’s cycles, this ancient part of us, is always present.  I love that when autumn leaves are finally departed, bare tree branches make gorgeous lacy patterns against the sky.  Can I allow myself to become something beautiful like that, even in winter?  Experiencing change is to learn, as American poet Lucille Clifton puts it, “the lesson of the falling leaves”:

the leaves believe

such letting go is love
such love is faith
such faith is grace
such grace is god
i agree with the leaves

- Lucille Clifton

(1936-2010)