The world has once again begun its journey from darkness into light. Like most journeys, it is an incremental process. Some journeys are measured in miles. Others in steps. Some are measured in years or decades, and some in lifetimes.
We think of almost all journeys as undertakings we choose to make, but the journey through time is ours to take whether we chose it or not. The journey we all take through the span of our life is a repetitive journey from darkness into light and back again—over and over. It’s not the way we think of our time on earth—season by season. We think of our time in terms of memorable events with ourselves at the center of our universe when, in fact, none of us is the center of any universe. The natural world goes on and on—it was there before we were born, and it will go on after we die. The cycles of the natural world occur peripheral to our awareness—we know they happen, but they aren’t important, really, in the scheme of our lives. What’s important, we think, is what we drive, or wear, or who we see or don’t see; where we go and what we have or want to have. What we do or what we want to do.
In fact, the natural world is the very thing called life. And life is a state of being: it simply is. Yes, it exists in time, but in a relative sort of time.
Whatever else life is for humans, it is a journey. A journey through time that is less relative than the universal time we call nature. For people, nature’s seasons remind that our time time on earth doesn’t last forever. I can’t imagine living where there are not four seasons to remind me what life is about.
Christmas is coming. We have been living in darkness, but we have already begun to leave it. Few of us live by the seasons any longer; few of us live close to the earth; few of us have stopped to think about what it means for the earth to be leaving the darkness. Christmas has many meanings—Biblical and metaphorical. Now on the other side of the winter solstice, with Christmas approaching, the earth celebrates the journey back to light. We begin to leave the heart-stopping edge of death. We are reminded that one thing follows another: light follows darkness; spring follows winter. It is a light that follows a darkness that occurs in the measurement of time that we understand: calendar time.
In the natural world there is a reason for darkness. A reason for nature to go inside itself where it’s warm. A reason to slow down, to pause. To wait.
Every winter eventually gives way to spring. While we wait in the cold and the dark for winter to segue into spring, there’s also a reason for us all to go inside ourselves where it’s warm, because not everything that happens, happens in the continuum of time, and not everything can be measured in time. There is a trinity of being: spiritual and emotional as well as physical.
Every long, dark winter is a return to the light. A return to spring. Every spring is a new beginning—new growth, new light. Every spring reminds us that we’re alive and free to choose new directions, or simply to continue on our familiar paths with new energy.
M L S Baisch | December 23, 2017