Moving into winter and that feeling of being on an edge. I rake the dry leaves behind the house and stack wood, make applesauce and soups for the freezer, make grain mixes in big galvanized garbage cans for the farm animals. An instinct to gather and store that feels powerful and primitive.
In spite of the activity I experience a slow drawing inward toward the luminous silence of my winter soul. I love the season of Advent, the waiting for the birth of the Divine Child. This is not the conventional spirit with its reenactment of the birth in the manger..although I am delighted by the wonderful motley crew of our Sunday school children playing Mary, Joseph and the sheep, especially the sheep. This is the seasonal rebirth that is an indestructible hope contained in Holy Silence.
I am old now or at the leading edge of old age at least. I will be 67 this month and no longer able to pretend that I could, by just going to the gym more regularly, bring my body back into youthful control. That is over. I am forced to learn to love the wrinkles, spots and droops or spend precious time being dissatisfied with my physical self. My mental abilities seem to hold so far but I do lose thoughts and keys from time to time.
Yet, there is a fresh and pure consciousness that longs to be reborn in me in this season. I can get caught up in lists and gifts and menu anxiety, or I can welcome it by cultivating silence and pure awareness. I do this last in meditation but also in pausing as I climb the hill to the house and really looking out into the woods now bare and open or by stopping work in the kitchen to savor the brilliant orange of a squash as well as savoring its taste.
I have always found it difficult to slow down and have searched lifelong for practices that could help. All the drugs in the world could not do it. All the success in the world could not do it. All leisure in the world could not do it and this last surprised me. I find now that the simplicity of silence, regular chores done with attention, pausing to notice... these help me to wait for the birth of that Divine Child within in this season.