Skyline, Winter - 2006

By Diane Pendola

Winter's Womb

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            The season is a season of dying back.  The dying unfolds before our eyes.  The leaves turn and fall.  The green bracken is now shriveled and brown.  The bones of earth are exposed.  This is not a time of taking on but stripping away.  This is a time of unknowing, of undoing what has been done.

            I contemplate all the doing in my life, the lives of friends, family and the busy-ness of our society.  I contemplate the words of the Tao Te Ching:  Doing nothing, nothing remains undone.  And I wonder if we did less would we have more of what we really want:  love, meaning, purposefulness, joy?  If we did less perhaps there would be less destruction.  If we did less perhaps there would be more for those who have so little. If we did less perhaps there would be more of the planet left for the other life forms to inhabit.

            If we did less... I'm reminded of those religious vows of poverty; those monastic vows of simplicity and staying rooted in one place; those insights into renunciation which run like streams of clear water through every spiritual tradition.  They are all about doing less, accumulating less, stripping down, letting go.  This is their season. 

            Now the life force turns back towards the root.  Flower, foliage and fruit disappear.  Death appears at the surface but in the darkness below life gathers itself, coils itself like a snake, hibernates like a bear, descends into the grave like a Christ concentrating the energy of resurrection. This is the season of the Spanish mystic, St John of the Cross:  If you would know everything, proceed by the way of unknowing.  If you would possess everything proceed by the way of non-possession.

            Here in the northern hemisphere organic life turns inward toward the Center.  Like it or not, I also feel the stripping of the season and I feel subsumed in unknowing.  Like it or not, my energy takes a down-ward turn away from the light.  The serpent power sleeps below the threshold of consciousness.  The earth tilts towards that moment of standstill, that solstice where the whole Earth hovers in choice:  to hurtle on into darkness or turn again toward the light.

            Each year the earth chooses to turn again towards the light drawing forth life from her winter's womb.  So too we can have confidence that as the Earth turns so shall we:  as individuals, as nations, as a planetary community.



©Diane Pendola, Winter 2006. You are welcome to print or make a copy in electronic form for personal use or sharing with interested persons as long as the copyright notice is not removed or altered. Please do not print it in any other publication, or sell it, by itself or as part of another work, without express written permission of the author.

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