Thursday, February 3, 2011
Clearing The Path
Yesterday marked the appearance of the New Moon and the beginning of this Lunar New Year, as well as the passage of another Groundhog's Day, which has in Other Times been known as Imbolc, or Saint Brighid's Day, and some time later as Candelmas.
I'd never thought much of this old holiday until quite recently; it was only this past Sunday afternoon, in fact, when fate intervened to bring it to the forefront of my attention. I'd intended to ski but found I was without my boots, so I opted for brisk walk, fully expecting to be disappointed by the crowded filth of the city. Instead I found myself pleasantly greeted by friendly neighbors (in shorts, even!) and the native flora of the prairie I'd hoped to see, which set me to thinking about the warm months ahead (though I'm still dearly in love with the snow, and not done just yet) and quite suddenly I became rather excited about all the many flowers, vines, grasses, shrubs and trees I shall plant soon. It seemed somehow that Winter had reached a turning point, and in fact, it had. It is at this time, in early February, that we reach the half-way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. This I had known, but I knew little of its significance, nor had I ever experienced it quite so tangibly before. The past year, for me, has brought a new acquaintance with each Season, each turning of the moon, and so it is only natural that I should come to know this one as well, I suppose, but I learned a few things I might not have expected in my brief reading about this holiday, just this afternoon. You might find them interesting, as well.
Also, yesterday, and the day prior, there occurred a very large convergence of crows over the city, just after sunset. Today I left my place of work sometime earlier, while the sun was still in the sky; the crows had gone, but in the clear blue above there soared a hawk, its white wings illuminated in golden light...
This morning marked the passing of a rare soul, and a dear friend, lover, guru, guide and inspiration to many, many young and old and aspiring human beings. Our friend JB, who had for the past three years borne the heavy burden of cancer--which he and his loving partner carried for so long with a grace and strength that were truly amazing--left this world today, in peace.
I was blessed to have shared his presence, last night, and in the days prior, surrounded by family and loved ones. Although he suffered, his bright spirit was still very much present, and to those of you who were unable to be at his side these past few days, take heart in knowing that he was at home, where he wanted to be. Some souls pass into their own shadow, but JB would not be scared back into his hole by any such thing; he was a gymnast! a dancer! a laughing, wise and willful imp, ready to be part of whatever was happening next (and make you be part of it, too.)...So into the new life of a coming Spring, he has gone. And he will be missed. But it is difficult to mourn the death of a life lived so beautifully, so openly, so courageously, so lovingly... I have shed tears today, but more of joy than pain, to have had the honor of being the friend of such a man, and to know that he will no longer suffer.
This evening I made a few calls, then put on my snowpants and went out to shovel. There have been two snowfalls since I last cleared the walk, and I knew I must do so tonight so that I might be able to focus my energy on the days ahead. The snow, though packed down tightly in the places where many feet have tread, broke easily and flew lightly as I thought upon these days, and upon the life of a man I've loved. I've learned so many things from him, even today, and have so many yet to learn...
It takes time to be in this world, to come into it and to leave it. I so wish to build a fire tonight, and circle round. Where you are, throw another log upon the flames, or set a candle on your windowsill...say a few words out loud, or pray. Hold each other close, and give your love. I send you mine.
JB, we will remember, smiling.