Almost February, the nadir of the year (according to me). Even though the light has begun returning, it is still a dark time, cold, snowy, gray when it isn’t black.
My head tells me that, underneath the snowy blanket outside, bulbs are stirring, putting forth shoots, just as within the bare forlorn looking trees the sap is also stirring, and before too long the first little bumps will be pushing forth. But that’s not what my heart says. My heart loses heart, you might say. It looks like a time of death, and it feels that way. Our little community is suffering loss after loss, from death, from illness, from departures. We rebound, but it saps a little energy each time. So where do we look for hope? Here, perhaps, in this poem by William Stafford:
The Way It Is
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
Such a homely thing, a ball of yarn, a piece of thread —
But it led the ancient Greek hero Theseus safely out of the labyrinth of the monster Minotaur, and saved his life. And it can lead us safely out of the labyrinth of our winter lives as well.