The Honest Courtesan reminded me that today is Imbolc; I simply woke up thinking it’s a friend’s birthday (ironically a Pagan friend, so you’d think the association would stick…). The amazingly lovely graphic she chose and her simple benediction make an excellent preface to this post, which I have had partially written since November, when I was staring into the oncoming winter, but never felt the time was right to finish. Today is that day.
The Sleeping Season
Autumn – when all that has outlived its purpose dies and falls away, leaving nothing but bones. It reveals what parts are immutable.
Winter is the sleeping season. The season of renewal. The season of rest. The waiting season.
The season of dying is long past, and the long darkness has fallen over us, taking over by degrees of frost and silence. It has now been silent so long we know it will not be broken until spring.
Perhaps because I live in the South, winter has never seemed a particularly dead time of year in the physical world, and it never really has to me in the metaphysical or metaphorical senses, either. Green can still be found; the fallen leaves are noticed more in the return than in the absence. When spring hits, it is this great wall of verdancy that just appears, and only then do you see how empty it was before.
I can always find beauty in things, and the melancholy grey of winter is no exception. But I have never felt winter so keenly as a period of dormancy and rest. My soul has never followed the seasons; like the subtropical land I call home, it grows and blooms and lives all the year round. But not this year. This year I had that period of dying through the autumn, of shriveling up and falling off and sloughing dead pieces that had grown burdensome. Thus the need to experience winter as the sleeping season. What is waiting to burst forth in glorious bloom within my heart is so eager, but the soil of my soul was so drained. It needed time and peace to replenish the resources that grow beautiful things. But feeling that inner fire makes the emptiness of winter serene and hopeful. A necessary stop, a point to simply stand still and exist, a space between the moments, a pause between movements in the symphony of life.
I sleep, frozen. Hungry. Patient. Waiting.
But today my inner fire stirs. Almost, almost, almost.
I don’t want to go back to sleep – but there are 49 more days to my winter.