I Chose Winter

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I am a citizen of two countries, on opposite sides of the world, one by birth, and one by choice. One nourishes my heart; and the other my soul. Both are very much beloved. How lucky I am to be able to choose the season in which I will live, to have eternal summer. I am the envy of all!

This blog has been a long time coming! I started to write it months ago, just as summer was coming to an end in Canada. It was to have been about the seasons, cycles, and rhythms of life, of how “unto everything there is a season”. I wanted to encourage readers to welcome the shift from summer, the season of fruitfulness, and surrender to autumn, the season of gratitude, transformation, and letting go. At the same time though, I was preparing to flee the northern winter and return to Australia – my other home – for another summer. I was living a lie! And hence, my writer’s block.

But, despite the obvious attractions of Australia, I was becoming increasingly anxious and uneasy as my departure date approached. For it meant carrying out plans that were not my own, and for which, personally, I had no energy or enthusiasm. I needed to heed those signals, I reasoned. I struggled with that for a bit, and missed my own first deadline. Then I decided to work with the Equinox theme. That’s the date (September 22nd, or 23rd this year, depending on where in the world you live) when the center of the Sun crosses the celestial equator moving southward marking the first day of Autumn in the northern hemisphere, and of spring in the southern. It is also the time when night and day are nearly equal in length. Like the sun, I was going south. The Equinox represents balance, I rationalized. Perhaps I could work on that theme! But while the concept of balance was comforting, my life felt anything but balanced at the time! And so another deadline slipped by. I was well and truly stuck!

And so, at last I retreated, with my books and journals, to a cottage in the northern woods. There, immersed in the sensual experience of autumn, I contemplated the season ahead. And suddenly it was clear what I needed to do. I chose winter. Why? For one thing, I was born in Canada and for me, seasonal changes - including winter - are natural. Energetically, and metaphorically, the seasons give a certain rhythm to our lives which is often instructive. And so, here I remain, still in Canada where, as the winter solstice approaches, the Earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun. It marks the first day of winter, the shortest day, and longest night.

The seasons of our personal lives do not always coincide with the seasons of the earth. In both my personal and professional life, I am currently at a very exciting stage of change, of transformation, of metamorphosis. I’ve been in this “transitional” place for some time now. Like birth, the process is sometimes slow and painful. It is a process that commonly begins in the darkness, in a chrysalis, or beneath the surface, underground. It requires a withdrawal, a going inside, a hibernation. But without winter there can be no spring. I am reminded of the tulip bulbs that we plant in autumn. What did you plant last autumn? If you’re in the northern hemisphere, I wish you a winter that is warm and yeasty! And if you’re in the southern hemisphere, I hope that you anticipate rich growth and abundant blossoming. I hope to join you there soon.

Please see my poem “If Not For Winter” at http://fb.me/Lct7RLEA