Like most of you, I grew up in a time and place that prized competence, progress, success, leisure time and anything that seemed full of light. During my lifetime older people have been forced by law to retire, young people unsure of themselves have been driven to mayhem or worse by intimidation and bullying and the internet, and elderly people are housed with only each other for neighbours. These are our addictions, and these are our consequences.
Ancestrally we all come from peoples who knew how to embrace frailty, honour age and employ diverse abilities so that the village could thrive and life could live and the young people could learn the graces of a well lived life by seeing them all around. Especially, they knew how to make a place in their village and in their inner lives for night and for darkness, both gifts of nature, both ordained by the turning of days and seasons. They knew darkness and the shortening of days and the ends of their lives to be the just and proper twin to the light filled, agile and assured days they’d grown fond of.
We are coming to the darkest of days late this month, a time in the Northern Hemisphere when peoples who know their ways tell their deepest, most trustworthy, most compelling stories. This is true, intermittently, around the world. The dark times have always been the truer home of our dormant seeds, our resting fields and forests, our reasons to live.
The people who are close to Orphan Wisdom are telling and learning just these kinds of stories now, in mid winter. Our school is filled twice over by people wanting to learn them, which heartens us to no end. We are now learning in darkness, readying ourselves for the lengthening of days that, all life willing, will come.
We hope this finds you making such a place in this season of your year and of your lives, that this other deep time of life finds you. Hydro’s going up anyway, another good reason to keep the light down.
All blessings on your house, your road, your people.