“Hope whispers, ‘And I will follow till you love me too.’”
This line from Linda Ronstadt’s song “Winter Light” stood out to me yesterday as I was celebrating the winter solstice. It’s such a poignant thought to me…that Hope stalks me, waiting for me to open my heart to it.
It reminds me that hope is something I often have to choose.
I speak of this time of the year as a season for hope and resurrection…the rebirth of the sun! But actually, there’s not a lot of evidence of that initially. Following the longest night of the year, I don’t instantly become aware of the lengthening days.
Most of the stories that I find about the winter solstice involve some sort of tragedy—someone kills the sun or steals/hoards the light or the light goes into mourning or descends into the underworld. In short, the winter comes because of death, loss, and destruction. As with Pandora’s box, Hope is what follows, not what starts the whole process. Rebirth cannot happen without first a death.
But the solstice somehow becomes a celebration of the return of light in spite of the fact that it’s still dark as fuck out there. And that’s the significance!
The solstice and all the myths associated with it remind me that I can trust that brighter days are coming, even when I don’t see the evidence of it yet, because I know brighter days have always followed the longest nights in the past. So I celebrate not just at the height of summer, but also at the darkest point of the year because I know that the darkness cannot last forever.
In fact, seasonal myths are one of the most beautiful ways that my global ancestors remind me that nothing in life is static. Everything is transitory.
Even chronic pain, when tuned into, has an ebb and flow to it.
Even depression, anger, and sadness change and morph as I grant them much-needed compassionate attention.
What feels permanent and unchanging is made up of constantly shifting moments if I can only allow myself to pay attention to those moments.
Yesterday, I embraced the darkness and rekindled my love affair with Hope.
Happy Solstice, dear readers!