A Solstice Meditation

Today has been an interesting study in darkness and light.  I watched as the sun rose and  colored high clouds in shades of salmon and rose as they drifted above the mountains this morning.  We moved on to a bright morning, which belied the change in the weather overtaking us now.

This evening, this earliest of winter evenings, has seen clouds roll in and become progressively heavier.  We’re expecting snow tonight and tomorrow, which will set a lovely scene as I finish wrapping presents and baking.  The growing cloud cover means that it’ll be dark soon, and I’ll need to go turn on the Christmas lights to defy the darkness.

At Yule, I try to spend some time honoring and contemplating the darkness in my life, because only then do I feel truly able to welcome light into it.   Ideally, I’d spend the day in silence, writing in my journal and knitting.  I’d follow that silence and contemplation with a fun dinner with friends and family.  I’ve rarely been able to attain that ideal, though.  Realistically, with my work and family schedule being what it is, I am lucky to be able to take an hour or so for reflection sometime on the Winter Solstice, and follow that with a typical weeknight family dinner, with all the rush that endeavor usually entails.  Still, limited time contemplating and then celebrating is better than none at all.

At this Yuletide, I am fortunate that the darkness I’ve been contemplating isn’t terribly bleak.  I’m healthy, I have a great job, wonderful family, and time to pursue my avocations.

It’s that time devoted knitting, though, that I’ve been contemplating today.  I find myself thinking that it’s never enough, that I always want more.  Sometimes, at the end of an otherwise great knitting session, I find myself upset that I couldn’t knit for even longer. Constant dissatisfaction with the amount of time I can devote to knitting detracts from the experience, so I need to find a way to be more satisfied with whatever time I have to knit, even if it’s not a whole lot.

The dissatisfaction keeps me from being able to bring light into the world — something I’d very much like to do as the days grow longer.  I also need to keep in mind that there are other ways I can bring light into the world: through my work, doing things with my family, and serving the community.  Time spent on those endeavors is at least as well-spent as knitting time.

I love midwinter for all its coziness, for quiet time to read and knit by the fire, for hearty, slow-cooked meals.  All the same, it will be nice when the days are longer.  Right now, I’m working on the Saxon Braid Aran, which is so dark that I need to knit on it in natural light.  The last hour of natural light begins around 3PM these days, and it’s hard to stop what I’m doing at that early hour and work on it.  I’m making some progress, though, and the front is coming along:

I hope to make progress on this sweater between now and New Year’s.

Because there’s not enough light to work on the Aran at night, I’ve turned my attention to the Rosebud Shawl.  It’s hard to see any measurable progress from one day to the next, as each row in the border involves increases at each end, and the long rows seem simply endless:

I don’t like to post photos of lace-in-progress, as I think it tends to resemble a used cheesecloth,  but I’ll post these just to show you where I am with the project.

I’m closing in on finishing the first border (if, by “closing in” I can mean that I still have at least a fortnight’s worth of knitting left).

Oh, and I don’t have any photos yet, but I plan to re-work the cuffs of the St. Brigid.  The sleeves are a few inches too long, and I’ve decided that the turned-up cuffs look sloppy, so I’m going to rip back several inches and add on a braided cable border.  I’ll post photos when I have them.

Until then, have a Blessed Yule!

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One Response to A Solstice Meditation

  1. I agree, it is so important to listen to that darkness. None of us can be or should be all light. Good luck with your knitting! And a Blessed Yule to you too. 🙂

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