One of the gifts of my move to Asheville almost five years ago has been experiencing the change of seasons. After living in Florida for twenty-two years where nature is lush and green year-round, the annual progression of seasons has increased my connection to and awareness of earth’s circular rhythm. Winter months bring an appreciation of darkness. I grew up, as many of us, with negative associations and fear of darkness. And yet, darkness is essential to life. Seeds germinate in the darkness of the soil. Embryos develop in the darkness of the womb. Our sleeping bodies re-energize in darkness. I have learned to embrace the long, dark winter evenings as an invitation to stillness, letting go the need to always be doing something. I even welcome the opportunity to go to sleep earlier than usual. When our children were little, the onset of darkness earlier in the evening also signaled to them it was time to sleep and they also went to bed earlier than usual. Eventually, the days will get longer; the busy-ness will begin again. Until then, I will enjoy these slow, quiet dark evenings. May this also be a time of stillness and introspection for you.

Prayer to the Dark by Jan Gehris
Darkness  enfold me
nurture and protect me
hold me in
your velvet wings
Darkness loose your
creative powers in me
Quiet my eyes
quiet my ears
quiet my mind
Take the rush and
distractions of daytime
from me.
with your magic
let me be
created anew
and born from you
the light.

Rev. Claudia Jimenez,  Minister of Faith Development