Saturday, December 22, 2007

Return of the light

Every year, I approach our solstice service the same way--with a season's full of weariness. I must practically force myself to go to the service, which is always at night and seemingly always occurring around the same time as my cold weather anemia sets in. (Not actual anemia--that I know of--but I feel bone tired, blood tired.) And then comes the renewal that I swear will not occur this year. I am always too far gone, I think. And invariably, my mojo returns after one hour in a dark sanctuary. How is this possible? The service was beautiful last night. Conducted mostly in the dark, it featured music, poetry reading, and dance. The music was curative: Native American Flute, bagpipes, vocalists with guitar or handbells, and drumming. Absolutely calming, rhythmic, and meditative. Perfect way to kick off a week of happenings and interactions with loved ones.

This is my poem, the welcoming of the light, that I read after dancers illuminated the sanctuary with candlelight to symbolize the sun's return. Happy Solstice to all. Whatever else you celebrate this season, may you find the light you seek.

From the ebony yawn of night,
The collective void that is our complacency,
We wait for a prophet—not to redeem us
But to show us who we really are.
The darkness softens,
And our awareness shifts to thoughts of hope.
Can this night, gone from ink to velvet in a heartbeat
Bring us comfort after all?
Ah, but consolation is not the sky’s intent.

A golden cord appears on the horizon
Where previously no distinction lay.
An axis of expectation,
The long finger of light beckons us unto ourselves.
We look down, and in the pink and purplely dim
We see the outline of our own flesh.
Arm, breast, thigh, foot.
They appear before us: parts of the whole.
We remember our designations,
And say our names, first silently to ourselves,
Then aloud to our neighbors
Whose figures we can now see.
Hearing the sweet chorus, we realize
We are not alone on our watch.

Orange now. Persimmon.
The heavens beseech us to turn our gazes upward
To the tinted ripples of dawn.
The colors convulse.
We are the midwives.
Waiting for the crowning of the golden orb.
But it is our own coronation that awaits us
With a vision of what we can be--
A vision of what we can be together.

Yellow wonder.
The eye rises into plain view.
Intensity beyond our ability to measure.
We cannot look at the star directly
So we turn and view its golden reflection
As it bounces off the faces
Of those who are gathered.
Each countenance shines,
Bronzed by the light of potential.

Welcome Sun!
Welcome Possibility!


kj said...

Beautiful poem! And your church sounds incredibly interesting. If it's not too personal, what church is it?

Jill Althouse-Wood said...

Unitarian Universalist Church of Lancaster. I don't think I've ever put that into my blog.

Jill Althouse-Wood said...

UUCL does have more traditional Christmas Eve services also, but we have always marked the holiday on Solstice.

Jill Althouse-Wood said...

kj said...

Thanks! I think I'll visit when I get back into town.