In honor of today, the last day of my 60s, I’m reposting this poem which I wrote at this time last year:
Imagine your life, some 90 years, beginning and ending with Winter Solstice, mapped onto the cycle of a single year.
You squirm out of the dark womb onto a narrow carpet of winter light. Days get longer as you push yourself up, fall, laugh, push yourself up again, and learn to walk.
By spring you’re in your 20s, strong and georgeous in your growing physical glory, thrust onto the stage as the sap surges and earth bursts forth in flowers like a flood of light sweeping away the darkness.
You stride through June into mid-life, your longest day and brightest moment, breezing through the gateway to proudly toil in summer’s sunny fields of dreams, ambition, work, family, achievement, barely noticing, as you follow the afternoon sun, the shape of your shadow lengthening behind you.
In late September when the days and nights are equal, gazing at the candles on your table surrounded with people you’ve invited to enjoy the harvest of the field, you may notice, even as you smile at the expansive play of the young ones, an unexpected ache in your muscles and an unexpected question in your mind: what do I do with this weariness I’m feeling? Do I yield to the night and excuse myself? Or do I push against the darkness, put another log on the fire, drink more coffee, and party on?
It’s October now and you’re approaching 70. With longer nights and shorter days there is less of you visible on the stage, more time in the wings. Young people pass you by without noticing. Your true presence and greatest power – your wisdom, experience, memory, judgement, compassion, and love – are invisible to those without night vision.
It’s October and time to organize yourself for today’s shorter day. What does the world need and what do you have to give? What do your loved ones need? What do you need to sustain yourself in the days ahead? The night is giving you abundant time to prepare.
What the world will see in you today is the glistening tip of the iceberg of your whole self, itself the glistening tip of a far greater iceberg. Laugh and walk, fall and get up, love and dance and dream, act and make a difference. Together we can join hands to welcome the next season.