shelter of the dark

“The Dream” by Odilon Redon

The world rests in the night. Trees, mountains, fields, and faces are released from the prison of shape and the burden of exposure. Each thing creeps back into its own nature within the shelter of the dark. Darkness is the ancient womb. Nighttime is womb-time. Our souls come out to play. The darkness absolves everything; the struggle for identity and impression falls away. We rest in the night.
~ John O’Donohue
(Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

For some reason I’ve been sleeping very well this winter. After the excitement of the holidays drifted away the days now seem very peaceful, the nights long and restful, and my dreams full of sweetness. Perhaps I am creeping back into my own nature. I’ve been “pruning” my family tree by day because it needs a lot of editing every once in a while.

A few Alberta clippers (fast moving snowstorms that seem to originate in Alberta, Canada) have passed through, leaving delightful snow flurries and light coatings of powdery snow. The bitter cold snaps have been more remarkable. The lowest temperature we’ve had here by the shore so far was 2°F (-17°C). Inland has been much colder. Today I will start putting away the solstice decorations. It would be nice to have at least one big snowstorm, a nor’easter, this winter…

10 thoughts on “shelter of the dark”

  1. Enjoyed reading this on a dark winter’s morning, feeling the poetry of darkness, and honoring that the Flow has us both sleeping better lately…

    1. The poetry of darkness – a lovely thought – and it warms my heart to know you’ve been sleeping well, too, Kathy. It’s a blessing to be in harmony with the natural world when the nights are so long…

  2. It’s wonderful to hear that you are enjoying the winter days and nights, Barbara. I sleep far more soundly during the cooler weather too, but I think everyone here does the same, as we are exhausted from lack of sleep during the hot summer nights! I love the sentence in the quote, “Our souls come out to play.” There’s magic in those words. 🙂

    1. Knowing that our souls come out to play makes the idea of going to bed such a pleasure. 🙂 There have been times in my life when I had so many nightmares that going to bed was fraught with anxiety. Joanne, your comment brought back memories of growing up without air-conditioning and how hard it was to sleep on those hot summer nights, even with fans blowing all over the house. And I bet your summer nights are even hotter than ours are!

  3. I seem to be sleeping more contentedly now that I know that my Christmas cookies are finally devoured (no more 3AM feedings for me)!

    I really like the painting – it has the lines of Matisse and the dream-like simplicity of Chagall. And the quotation makes me wish it were evening now, so I could walk in its inspirations, wrapped in its starry blanket and silver, distant light.

    1. Oh yes, those Christmas cookies are hard to resist – I made grain-free gingerbread men this year and had far more than my share of them!

      That’s the wonderful thing about winter, evening comes earlier and the restful night is longer – more time to play…

  4. I’m sleeping far too much. I feel like I’m in semi-hibernation. I also find myself eating more than I should. Because we’re largely vegetarian that usually involves consuming too much dark chocolate — EVERY day.

    Isn’t it interesting that Joanne isn’t sleeping enough coz of the heat and I’m sleeping too much coz of the cold.

    1. Hibernation and large doses of dark chocolate – you may as well enjoy it, Sybil! I often have some dark hot chocolate in the afternoon, with a shot of Bailey’s and marshmallows on top – no wonder I love winter so much. (I only allow myself this in winter.)

      I remember summers when I was a child and we had no air-conditioning. It is incredibly hard to fall asleep when it is hot and humid at night. Thank goodness we have air-conditioning now…

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