I love winter here. The cold forces you to contemplate, to deeply consider what you actually have energy for. There are no easy moments in winter. The fire burns only because you thought ahead, sawed it into rounds just the right size for your fire box, split it, hauled it, and sheltered it from the elements so that it would stay dry. The car starts only because you babied it, let it warm up for a while, and shoveled a path out of the snowy bank that drifted in overnight. You have food on the table only because you planned ahead, drove an hour to the nearest town for groceries or grew it yourself in the heat of the summer months. So its not easy. You must decide where you want to dedicate your energy.
And yet, there is ease. Out here in the wilds of Eastern Oregon, I never expected the pace of winter to be so wonderful. So silent. So comforting. So meditative. Winter compresses life’s flow and asks that you come face to face with yourself. Winter asks that you remember who you are when the “busy” stops and the “have tos” fade. Winter says “stop and look around. Take time and keep your weight over your steady feet”.
This week as the Solstice passes and the light returns to Pacific Northwest, I give thanks for the darkness. I give thanks for the creeks as they ice over, thanks for the howling Coyotes prowling the foothills, thanks for the feisty birds elbowing each other at the edge of my neighbor’s bird feeder, thanks for the hearth that heats the bones of my home, and I give thanks for all the silence that surrounds me. And on this Christmas Eve, I give thanks for you.