Wednesday, December 19, 2007

hitting bottom

and so we come to the bottom of the year.

the word "solistice" derives from the latin word for standing still, and for a period of three days or so, at the solistices, the sun appears to rise and set in the same place. it is the time when the whole world holds it breath and waits, to see what happens next. it's the break between the chapters, the pause between the paragraphs. it is the space between the beats.

for me, the winter solistice period always begins on december 19. december 19 is the day my great- grandfather died. he was already dead by the time the sun rose, having slipped away into an opiated rest sometime after midnight. no one told me until i came home from school that day. he was 87. i was 15.

it struck me even then as interesting that the death of the One Who Started It All, should dovetail so perfectly with the time of year. he was old, riddled with cancer, ready, as he told my stepfather, to die. it'd been five years since he had a woman. he couldn't eat or piss or shit or breathe without pain. it was time to go.

for me, this is the an integral part of the meaning of the Season, one that we would so rather much not face. the Old MUST pass away, before the New can be born. even the good stuff of the Old...even the things you think you'd rather not let go.

this cold, dark, brittle season, barren, white as bone is as inevitable in these new england woods as death. this is what we seek to cover up with our frantic holidaying jolly-daying, i think, this harsh and unforgiving granite reality that dares us to be brave enough to confront it, the knowing, that in the end, we close our eyes and fade away like the memory of last year's christmas tree.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.


Stacie said...

This was a great post for me to read today, as I am struggling with letting the old pass, so the new can be born. Old parts of myself that I have held onto for most of my life, that I need to let go. I will keep the solstice and this message in mind as I begin to allow the old things to pass away.

Judy Vars said...

you're brave to say it I feel the cold space and the old dying.