step into the winter dark

sticker graffiti of a little girl in a flouncy skirt, holding a hammer up over one shoulder

she's going in to break it up

This morning I spent an hour writing in the notebook. It’s chilly here in the little apartment, but I got to wrap up in a bright red wrap that was knitted by my mother, so that helps.

What to say on a Wednesday morning? This is the slow time, the molasses time, the bundling time. Why does it, why do I feel, some need to go faster? Faster isn’t possible right now? All the gears are grinding to a halt. It’s not just Winter, the Winter Holidays, or Mercury Retrograde — it’s all of these plus deep inner-work that brings me into contact with my old stories, the ones I haven’t told, the ones I haven’t wanted even to look at, or let my throat and mouth shape.

So I set up a new writing corner in the apartment, move a rocking chair in, a small table (complete with requisite box of tissues), move a candle in — and this morning, I move my body in as well.

Here’s something I read in my recent revisiting of Women Who Run With The Wolves (which I’ll probably keep mentioning for awhile) – how alone has a connectedness to all one. Alone and all one. Sometimes (for me this is true — it might not resonate for you), the only time I feel all one is when I’m alone, when I can be unobserved, when I have no sense of having to perform any particular persona or personality. All my fragments and foibles, my snotty voices and messy faces can come out and just rest their elbows on the table with me while I eat dinner, while I read a book, while I vacuum. Off-center pieces of me can be present and accounted for, even though they don’t fit or talk right, they chew funny, they talk to themselves — even though all of that is true, they’re necessary parts of making me me, aren’t they?

Do you have stretches of time where you avoid the computer, the InterWebs? I’m having one of those times right now– you may have noticed, after almost a week of no blog posts. What does this time mean? A desire for a break from the blue light of the screen, sure. A desire to touch something besides silicone and plastic. A desire, yes, to actually be in the dark with one candle and no other noise. I often go through stretches of wanting to be away from the computer, and it’s not just about avoiding emails (that’s another issue altogether!), it’s about wanting more than these pixels, the ones and zeroes that make up this new form of communication that, sometimes, doesn’t feel even remotely human.

So I step away, into the winter dark, and let the nesting, longing, sorrow, old memory, new possibility, let all of it come upon me. I find space to be alone and bundle all the tossed-aside bits of me back up under my coat, inside my gloves — suddenly, there’s room for them. And then I get together with old and new friends and laugh until my sides ache and I remember that medicine, the necessity of it. I remember how to breathe by watching my breath take shape in the cold ocean-morning air. I fit myself into the iciness of this new blue, even if it’s not as cold as it would be this time of year if I were still living in northern New England. Still there’s the slumber — maybe not a bleak midwinter, but a cold, a going under, the sun in its hibernation, in its distance.

Plus, there’s the xmas cookies that need making. So far this year, there are about 20 different kinds on my list. Let’s see how many I can get to this year.

How do you mark the winter dark? Or, more specifically, how does your creative self respond to this time of year, to these long nights, to the chill and the quiet (if, indeed, it’s quiet where you are)? How do you or your character respond to this idea of alone == all one? Want to take 10 minutes with one or the other of these this morning? Follow your writing (like we do) wherever it seems to want you to go.

Thanks, yes, thanks, for your creative you. Thanks for all the parts of you that you hold out a hand to, hold open your heart to, even though they’re rude and not grown and they’re skateboarding down Market St or Broadway instead of sitting quiet at the table with you. Thanks, this morning, for your words.

It’s more a reflection of the boundless possibility that lies in all of us, all the time…

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