Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter Ember Days

The sun has set on the longest night.

Sitting here in my quiet little living room on the night of the Winter Solstice, Alban Arthuan, I suddenly feel that overwhelming wistfulness of "wanting to go home." This silly old apartment is more my home than any place has been since I was almost too little to remember. I feel very lucky in my life--people come and go, and new people arrive and stir up stress and hope, but somehow I still feel lucky and loved and not so alone. Lonely, though. It's one of those evenings when I really wish I had a cat. I remember my cat--I think maybe she was the same way. No matter how loving and affectionate she could be at times (or tolerant of cuddles in her old age) I think maybe there was a little part of her that was also lonely, always a little lonely after our old dog died. Can an animal have that kind of loneliness?

We spend a lot of energy trying not to be sad these days, trying to avoid the risk of becoming sad. We pursue happiness--after all, that's what this country is built on, isn't it? And when a new insecurity or unforeseen need or desire arises (or someone creates one in us as a way of exercising power over us and earning trust or money from us), we do our best to placate, ameliorate, mitigate. Evergreen

All I want is to learn to walk through sadness and come out the other side. I want to learn how to live a life that is not hedged in by the fear of sadness or loss. I think I'm getting better at it, at pressing onward, walking through the thick of it, the heavy darkness, dense with grief and the extinction of the grasping ego... but the other side is still lonely. Maybe because so few make it through.

So I'm wistful tonight for the home I left in order to make a new home on the other side of sadness. Maybe this is why birth is really so amazing--that we can make of our very bodies a home for an innocent new being--that, like those physical houses constructed out of sacrificed trees and broken stones, we can build that kind of sanctuary. A warm hearth, a place from which new happiness on this side of loss and hardship can begin again. Even when we have passed through sadness and loneliness, been shaped by them and scarred by them, that we can still become a bridge to the new, to the newly born, to the beginning.


  1. I've really been feeling the (several years gone) loss of my grandparents this year; I guess I'm a little homesick for the Christmas of my childhood.

    Blessed Solstice to you!

  2. It is when we are most cold and alone that we feel the strength of the ties that bind us. Giving birth or being born is always a special circumstance, but even more so at this time of the year. I hope that you can join loved ones before the season is over.

  3. I do think animals feel sadness. A felail Chowchow I had moped around and refused to eat for three days aftee her mate died. We are always sad when we loose those we love. The only alternative is to never love. Not a good choice.

  4. Just a little wondering... how does this birthing thing apply to males...?