The Ancient Parts 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. 


And yet…


I resist almost 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 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.  But experiencing it by way of experiencing the seasons is to learn, as the 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