It’s been cold. Into the teens at night. The light begins to fade at 3p.m. and the middle pasture retains a sparkling veneer of frost all day. Day break is an exaggerated event, a slow struggle of bleak, blue illumination that feebly turns to sunlight by noon. But how sweet is that eventual sun. It turns the countryside into a brief but sparkling celebration of the season.
I love to watch the horses on clear frosty days. They have no problem responding to the stillness of December. They know nothing of the ridiculous, frantic activities of the human population. The incessant materialism, the stress. Horses understand the wisdom of standing in southern exposure after a good breakfast, closing ones eyes, and doing absolutely nothing. It is enough to absorb the goodness of light and let it seep into their very souls. No wonder horses are stable creatures (pun intended).
I’m having a much harder time navigating the season. My mind is busy and high strung (and not just from the five pounds of cookie dough I’ve so far consumed). I believe writers are called to observe. This is not usually a problem for me—I can quite happily watch paint dry. But lately, as evidenced from my lack of blog posting, I can barely string two thoughts together. Feeling dragged along the commercialized Christmas highway, I am restless and grinchy.
As I watched my horses relax and observe this week—for hours on end—I thought of all the unnecessary stress this season places on people. The unhappiness. It struck me as mind bogglingly sad that this is the case during a season meant to celebrate the Light of the world.
A few nights ago I lit two candles, laid on the couch in the dark, and listened to music. Firelight from the wood stove flickered patterns on the wall as the strains of a favorite carol by Manheim Steamroller filtered through the air—Veni, Veni (Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel). This was followed by another, aptly named, favorite: Still, Still, Still. My mind quieted, my soul sighed, and for a few minutes at least I practiced being equine by absorbing the goodness of the knowledge of Light and inviting it to penetrate deep into my soul.
Maybe it’s not too late for a stable December.