Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Winter Solstice!

The longest night of the year is always a challenging one - though it's nothing at all comparing to what they get in the Arctic Circle. Compared to the 16 hours long Vancouver night, the slightly over 12 hour long night in Tel Aviv is just an excuse for more partying in a city that does it so well anyway... 

Just a couple of weeks ago, a young man from the Yukon who works for one of the world's leading gelaterias, shared with me the experience of life in the grace of nature's forces, when there are only 4 hours of daylight. And this past week I went back to my home village and lived off-the grid for a while, including an incidental day long water outage due to some maintenance in the water reservoir (accompanied by a very poorly managed notice as to when the outage will commence, so we didn't really have enough time to stock up or prepare mentally for the occasion). It wasn't in the least convenient but it reminded us all how important water is and how much of our modern human dignity depends on it being so readily available.

We might be fortunate to have all the conveniences of running water, light and heat whenever we feel like it. But we don't have the immense satisfaction at the end of the day - knowing that we worked honestly for every bit of these comforts. There are so many things that have been compromised on the way simply because we have lost our trust in nature to provide us with what we need, when we need it. The caribou herds live off lichen they dig off under the snow and wander south, and the salmon jump up the waterfalls and swim against the streams to feed us. Yet this is not enough and in our greed and hunger for power we are rapidly killing our very own sources of food, and poisoning our water wells.

What if the sun won't come back tomorrow? Some think it won't, and tonight is the end of the world. I heard that many times and I am still here, as you are, my dear readers. I believe the end of the world won't arrive suddenly in one day of crumbling skies or monsters who'll consume our only real light source; rather, it will gradually arrive by the destruction that our very hands bring to our own species and whomever happens upon our path.

But, if we managed to destroy so much - we surely should be able to heal and repair what damage we have caused. And rather than worry, weep and mourn what's gone or broken - let's do whatever little things we can to turn the wheel on its back and change things around. Acts of kindness to the earth which we inhabit, our neighbouring plants, species and fellow humanoids.

I'm now in the big, modern city, the stagnant, rotting monster that we call civilization and think is better than being wild and free and transient like the nomads. But I'm with the sweet and comforting company of my closest family - 4 generations of powerful women who can survive anything and everything. And we have everything we need - heat, water, light, food and each other's company. We even got the luxury of tea and television, incense and perfume. Add a little peace on earth and we might just reach perfection. 

Tonight I'm celebrating the shrinking of the day and the ruling of the night. But even in a dark room, one candle is enough to light the space; so even in the darkest day of the year, there still is some light. And that's what counts.


At December 21, 2012 2:54 PM, Anonymous said...

We should appreciate what we have instead of worrying all the time. Good post.


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