We pause as the path of the sun reverses, seemingly holding its place for a moment of turning. Let us delve into the gifts of darkness at the winter solstice. We follow curiosity and contemplation down into the cold earth, taking a journey to the world below the surface. Here we find acorns, cached by squirrels and chipmunks, perhaps to be food laid in store, or perhaps to become trees in the fullness of time. We find the burrows of hibernating animals, those who sleep and repair. We find seeds, including some that will not sprout unless they first wait through frost and ice. Life finds rest and renewal in the darkness.
May those who are weary find comfort. May those who are struggling find meaning and companionship. May those who are injured or ill find recovery. May those who hunger find abundance. Let this be a time of healing. And may the dreams of the dark lead us to share these gifts with one another.
Our imagination rises back to the surface, to life where the cold ground meets the crisp air. Here we observe life finding its way. We observe animals eating seeds left on the ground, though the harvest is long past. We notice the migration of birds, natural movement that allows populations to find places where they can thrive. We observe the trees that appear to sleep, and yet hold sap that will rise again before the spring arrives. We observe that not everything lives through the winter, and yet all that has lived returns to the earth and is transformed.
Let this be a time of resilience. May the changing seasons bring new meaning and new insights. May creativity and persistence lead us to find resources for all to share. May those who migrate find safety, and may there be good news in the wind. May transformation lead us onward.
We now lift our imagination to the sky, to the returning sun and to the brilliant winter night. Shifting hours of light and darkness remind us that change is part of the rhythm of the universe, and so trouble does not last. Acknowledging the gifts of darkness, we also look forward to the growing light, a change that brings glimmers of hope. We marvel at the beauty of this time: stars unobstructed by leaves, jewels of the night shining over the land, moon and meteors inspiring us to awe and wonder.
Let this be a time of celebration. What joy can be found, let us hold it close, blow on its embers, and share its spark. We do not take for granted having come this far, and we give thanks for our companions on the journey.
We continue our meditation in silence.