Winter in Montana is challenging, especially this winter. The skies become grey, the temperature drops, and the snow begins to fall, and fall, and fall. There is more silence and solitude during winter.
Winter pulls at my soul, I pull at my self. As the days grow short and color fades, my self does the same. My interior life becomes gray, my soul spends more time kissing sadness, quick kisses, pecks, but sometimes lingering.
I become intentional about color and living beings. It’s necessary to work at finding a balance in winter. Balancing the natural darkness descending, with the firm effort and resolve to paint days with brushes of vibrant color, even if only my eyes, or my mind’s eye see it.
Winter is a breaking process. A breaking down of the self, the soul, in anticipation for a budding and springing forth of life. Perhaps winter is a contest, a contest of breaking. Does the flower bud and the bird chirp before the soul breaks?
I want to dislike winter, call her names and curse her snow. But I know She loves me and Her season is necessary, it’s a season of learning to dance with the little shadows in the mind and heart. My soul slows down in winter, I become more introspective, as if this were possible, and I reflect more upon family.
It’s another grey day in Montana and I am reading Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander by Thomas Merton. Merton is the only voice I can turn to for understanding the Divine. Merton got it, he understood, his voice resonates with me and it’s good to find the Divine in his writing.
Somewhere on the path I lost God. No, that’s not true. I lost theology, and the letter of the law, and organized religion.
Somewhere on the path I stopped striving and started being. I sense the Divine in trees, dogs, and I hear the prayers floating on the wind as coldness cuts my cheeks.
I walk my dog slowly today, lost in thought, but present. I hear a few ravens, and a few other bird calls I don’t recognize. The raven’s squaw seems to be calling an end to winter, a prayer perhaps. Maybe the raven is breaking, too.
Despite the uneasiness of winter, there’s tremendous energy in my body, as I breathe in the change vibrating in the air. Goodness is coming soon. I am breaking the spell of winter and Winter is breaking with me.
Together, we break.