I forgot who I was this winter.
This isn’t the first winter this has happened—I have been alive many winters.
The moon gently guides the ocean’s tides as earth’s poles take turns bowing their heads in worship to Grandfather Sun. As mutually sustaining life is created during the dance of the honeybees with their flowery lovers, as the womb of the goddess tends to the lunar cycle and mamas give birth to future mamas, stars appear in our mind’s eye during moments of disorientation, reminding us of the universe that exists inside each of us.
Each season sequentially unfolds and integrates itself within me.
I become the cold, still air—the chill that whips over mountaintops and through valleys, the blur of a winter blizzard through my car windshield as I steer myself forward, straight into the eye of the storm (for what choice do I have?). I am the hardened ground, preparing itself for new life.
This energy transforms my being, but moments of understanding, breakthrough, lucidity, the residual sighs of joy and breaths of gratitude complement my existence during winter. They are like the high energy of the holidays, the warmth in coffee shops between strangers come to thaw their souls with a hot drink, the ski trip with friends that could only happen if this season were here.
They’re like the snowflakes, perfect and unique and necessary if we want that feeling of gazing out our windows in wonder on a cozy winter morning.
In those moments of clarity, of sheer aliveness, I am reminded of the invincible fire within me—reminded of the match of spring that will light it, the summer that will cause it to dance, its dimming embers of fall and now, the winter (of whose acquaintance I’ve become tired by February), who reduced it almost completely to smoke.
I remember that this is part of a cycle that finds itself reflected in me.
As winter comes to overtake fall, who had whooshed in to sweep away the life-cultivating summer before, the one who had ripened the fruit that spring bore, I go inside. I forget who I had become in the past year and I prepare for the new me who will take shape when I hear April’s song.
Each spring, I emerge, not unlike the green flower bud, expectant yet unassuming, vibrant yet humble, clinging to the knowledge encased deep within my soul: I am.
Maybe we have to let go of who we were to become who we will be.
And letting go is much easier when forgetfulness is the blanket, that purveyor of artificial warmth, that I wrap myself in each winter.
Come spring, I toss aside the blanket and dance in the warmth of the sunshine.
I feel the cool earth beneath my bare feet, hear the crisp rustling of leaves as the breeze teases them above my head, feel the sunny warmth on my face as I lie on my back and smile at the sky.
I tend to think that “seasonal affective disorder” is just some long dead psychotherapist’s no-brainer term for one facet of the human experience, and I’d hardly consider it a “disorder.” It seems society is always looking for some way to diagnose and treat manifestations of the darker side of existence, but there’s a balance to everything—for every dark cloud a silver lining, for every rainbow the rainstorm that allowed it into being.
Without the dark, the light wouldn’t shine nearly as brightly, and without winter, how would we know that spring had returned? Without forgetting who we were, how would we know the earthy, sweet taste of remembrance?
As the tides of the years overtake each other like waves upon the shore, one overtaking the next, then the next, then the next, life continues its ebb and flow—I choose the only option that’s ever made sense to me, and head to the beach to make new memories.
Alix Whitney Davis: When I notice the patterns in my life, it becomes clear to me that I identify less with years and more with seasons (as expanded on in this essay), but I can look back on the last couple years of my life and recognize them as being the most spiritually and emotionally transformative that I’ve lived. This is in sync with the growing awareness and transformation of the planet, which reminds me of the interconnectivity of everything. I am growing every day and becoming more and more conscious of every moment’s purpose and intention in creating the next moment. I believe my writing to be a reflection and celebration of this awareness.
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Asst. Ed: Terri Tremblett/Ed: Bryonie Wise
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