Solstice in the Pacific North-west, walking along the river, misty clouds cover mountain peaks, I am sodden from drizzle along the way. There is no snow, no light reflected from the open river, no ice and crystal to refract back the mauve and greys of the landscape. And yet right before me, clumps of Red Ozier Dogwood, brilliant with their scarlet tips, beauty right before my eyes. I gather branches for my table, am thrilled with this creation despite or perhaps because of my longing heart.
As I pull decorations out of the box I choose only a few, wanting to keep it simple and graceful. I marvel over each piece. The pilgrims made from corn husks that I made when my children were young, the bird sitting in the tree is a memory of my mother, some are gifts from precious friends; even this morning a cedar piece was gifted so unexpectedly and generously, imprinted with a reminder of the importance of being present. So perfect as I question in this holiday season what is important, what ceremonies would I like to honour and what traditions no longer feel true to where I am at. Even in this darkest time the sun has not vanished. The outer world shifts my connection to my inner landscape. Inside as I appreciate this simple ritual, I feel the light expand inside of me.