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.
9 thoughts on “The ‘Black Hole’”
Indeed. One day to go.
I also have December 21st marked down mentally as more significant than Christmas. The true New Year’s Eve. Are we not susceptible to the movement of stars and planets and noise and activity. We practise stillness and silence in the midst of it all. A Happy Black Hole Day to all for tomorrow. Keep taking the vitamin D. And bathing in the light.
Thanks you Ian. Stay warm and safe. Hope to see you here next year, if you can.
What a beautiful message from your father.
I found it beautiful and so simple.
Goodness! Good to see you here.
I’m sitting here, looking at the fading light on my garden and thinking about ‘the black hole’. My mum always seizes on the fact that after the shortest day, the light will be coming back, soon. She always encourages by reaffirming that it will be light until 5 pm by the end of January. I quite like the mysteriousness of the light at this time of year but my bones creak more and seek out the warmer days. I can feel a bit of writing of my own coming on _/\_
Yes, and your bit of writing did come on didn’t it. Let there be many more posts on Dew on the Grass. http://dewonthegrass.net/dancing-in-the-dark/
To me, it seems very natural that the approach to the Winter Solstice should be a time of slowing down and introspection. Now that I’m retired I find it easier, because I can rest as much as I need and get outside during the hours of daylight; but I do feel that the relentless focus on the Yule and New Year festivities, which begins in early autumn, distracts us from a necessary time of quiet and reflection, and this creates conflict. If instead we could simply allow ourselves this period of quiet, this time would be easier, and Christmas would then be a natural celebration arising from it; rather like the lightness at the end of Segaki, or of Holy Week for the Christians.
Mark, I think many people will feel this way. This year has been exceptional of course.