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This post has been republished a few times now. I love that this card from my father turned up within the last couple of years amongst some old holiday cards in the monastery stash, which were available to be recycled. I believe my dad found this time of year quite difficult although he would never talk about ‘low mood’ but would mention the ‘black hole’ and note it in cards or conversations to me. So he obviously noticed ‘something’ going on, as I do.
Yes, it gets dark earlier in the afternoon and light later in the mornings until Black Hole Day when the tide turns and the daylight gets longer, nights shorter. Slowly. My dad would mark the weeks when there was little change in the day lengths as The Black Hole. Not an easy time of year for any of us and many supplement with extra light.
From my late father’s card, 1988.
Happy Christmas holiday and new year. Hope you don’t have to do too much cooking. Hope the Black Hole is not sitting on your back – anyway it is nearly black hole day – 21 Dec Winter Solstice which is far more important than Xmas to me.
Note December 2020. Little did my father know that cooking for the monastic community is an honor and a privilege. Currently, I am cooking lunch each Saturday for the community which numbers around 20 monks and postulants.
I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall —
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.
Just a couple of hours in early September, ambling along the sandy beach at Alnmouth Bay, smelling the seaweed, watching dogs run and play, hearing the swish/woosh of the waves, sitting on a rock as the tide went out – all enough to lift my spirits. It is unmistakable the effect being beside the sea has on one’s whole being.
I wasn’t looking for anything, in particular, that day. It just seemed ‘good’ to stir myself and ‘go somewhere’ while I was having some quiet time/renewal time in August/Sept. My natural inclination was towards exploring the fields and lanes locally to where I was staying. On the day I wasn’t feeling 100% wonderful as I stepped out of the car, there are days like that. During the hours drive the exhaust pipe had broken and the sound of it vibrating against the chassis was both defining and concerning. This I could have done without.
However, it just takes a bit of ‘pushing through’ sometimes, in some circumstances, to let go mentally, emotionally and physically. This is spiritual renewal. There will always be ‘conditions’, inward and outward to push through. Not to reach somewhere else, some happier ‘place’ perhaps but when all conditions come together, there you are. Renewed! what a gift.
Crochet squares sewn together, artfully, and configured into a Christmas tree. Love the tippie star on top, also a crochet creation.
I do a bit of a dance around this time of year, the ‘holiday season’, with what to wish people when I send a card. This year I’ve been wishing people a ‘Peace Filled’ new year to come. I’m not shy about saying Happy Christmas or Xmas for that matter. Buddhamas? I don’t think so.
For me this time of year can do with as much ‘upcheering’ as we can all muster. Blasting light into the darkness for a short time is uplifting. Switch on the coloured lights, hang baubles on the bushes, and drape tinsel over window frames, pictures and mirrors. It doesn’t need to be artful, for me at least. That said, the room I live in sports only cards. Little room for anything else. Thank you to those who mailed a card.
If all the light and colour can reflect back into our own being and we can shine, all the better.