dark and light

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We are steadily moving into the darkest time of the year. Here in Sonoma the darkness is moving in around 5PM. The geese are flying south overhead and the tulle fog turns the landscape into a muted watercolor. With our modern comforts- light bulbs, heaters, cars and markets filled with foods flown in from around the world- we might forget that we are also part of this darkening. In all of our holiday busyness it’s good to remember that this is also the time of year when the natural world pulls in, becomes simpler, pares down activities and sits in communion with everything.

For some of us these precious dark days turn into a stress filled whirlwind of activity. The cultural pull for activity and commerce is strong. It’s as if there’s a collective fear of the dark and of silence. But we always have the option to sit with friends and family around a fire and tell stories or sit alone by a window and watch steam dance off our hot tea. How do we remember the sweetness of the simple, free miracles all around us?

In the icy moonlight,
Small stones
Crunch underfoot.
Buson

A quieter world lives side-by-side year end reports, holiday plans, traffic and parties.

The winter moon:
A temple without a gate,
How high the sky!
Buson

All we have to do is remember to sink into the darkness and silence and we’re there. A knife slicing through a carrot or through winter squash, the chill of the air when we step outside our front door, the warm brightness of the Christmas lights, can all bring us back to our connection with the natural world. The natural world is everything, everywhere when we remember who we are and are content within our own skin, our own precious life.

The desolation of winter;
Passing through a small hamlet,
A dog barks.
Shiki

How lovely to embrace both holidays and dark days. The lights, the presents and the people as well as the quiet routines all entered into with presence. The Buddha teaches us to not become attached to pleasant things or pull away from that which we find unpleasant. Loneliness and fullness each have their own unique texture and beauty. My New Years wish for you is that you sink into your life and enjoy it all!

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