Every day grows a little shorter. The deep night's darkness lingers longer in the mornings and falls heavier and swifter come late afternoon's twilight. These are the times of hibernation, of restoration. Of quiet and insight. I can't help but feel a spark of magic when gazing out on that oblique and golden burnished glow stretching across the land in front of me. I always feel a little joyous and comforted, like I am the one being wrapped in that savory incandescence.
In the stillness leaves crunch and twigs snap as I take each step. Each step is precious contact with the sleepy ground, rising and heaving in places where there is moisture and the cold air hits. It is a combination of folklore and science, this sacred time of year. And as the air thickens, what would normally be rain crystalizes and turns white. I can feel my senses heighten and my thoughts turn inward. I already have my thermos stashed in one of the water bottle pockets in my pack. It is filled with ginger tea that I spent an hour simmering, then mixed with honey. To keep the fire in my soul aflame. I will find a spot to sit and enjoy this simple, soul warming libation.
And it is simple things like this that stir me. They gently nudge me awake and give me bright inspiration for the day. No matter the day, I am ready for the Solstice. I am ready for the dawn of that short day that signifies the end of one years cycles and begins the excitement of what is to come. Each dawning of a new day, each evening as that Solstice glow approaches. An infinite cycles continues on.
Until then, I will sit out in the fresh air, and think and smile and breathe. I will feel the deep slow inhale as my heartbeat slows and steadies itself, then exhale, watching a steamy cloud of hot breath reach out into the world. One more way to connect me. I will enjoy the four-legged (and one 3-legged) beasts sprinting around me playing, sniffing, exploring the scene before settling down nearby to demolish a stick or just sit by me and observe the world around. I appreciate their closeness, their bond with me and mine with them. This is our sacred space. Maybe our spot is out on top of the hill, above the treeline, on top of a giant boulder left behind from a glacier's travels to the sea. Maybe it is sitting on a fallen tree across marshy land or along the swamp trail that winds its way through a magical place that shows a fine balance between life and death and how one is nothing without the other.
These are the places where I sit and ponder and learn.
About the environment around me,
About the earth.
There is joy in this simplicity.
I always have my camera and sketchbook in my pack. Always. But sometimes there are just moments that I swear a for me only. I am alone in the time and space, like natures gift to me.
It is so good. I am humbled and honored.