Three stories down, snow tires hiss past on the wet road. Inside, forced air whistles throaty through the heating vent, then stops cold for smaller sounds,
…the rhythmic click of keyboard keys – space bar like a tambourine in obscure african rhythm, voices in the hall (take note of who’s at work today).
11am, I haven’t turned the studio lights on yet. My final gig before Christmas was last night; everyone there met in a magical place. I feel so honoured to be on this complicated planet, in this complicated community. This is the first of four days left before Christmas day. Today is winter solstice. I feel slightly chilled. My body is tired, achey, and happy.
All the external push of Christmas packaging, duty & obligation and I go inward,
…because it’s an opportunity for something surprising to surface. This is the one time of our planetary year in which we are not spinning forward into the future. Each year at solstice we have three days of a suspended sun when the days get neither shorter or longer – it’s all right now. (If you want to dig a little into this idea, watch Zeitgeist, for starters).
This feeling of Community in my bones – charged in a powerful way last night at the Leith Lessons and Carols, which happens annually in the same church that Tom Thomson sang in as a choirboy. Strong, local people with ties to CBC and all over the planet decided that the abandoned church should survive, and they made it so, 19 years ago. Now this tiny church building has non-denominational supporters around the world, who keep coming back to play and listen and sing (rare, soul-fulfilling acoustics), again and again. SweetWater Festival, Leith Summer Festival – many many weddings, concerts and events with far-reaching impact. Those of us who sing together at christmas are from here. You can imagine, therefore, many diverse and interesting things about what ‘here’ means.
Big and small, near and far – we are all an ecosystem. At noon I find a photograph of a line of traveling wolves on facebook with this caption:
“A wolf pack: the first 3 are the old or sick, they give the pace to the entire pack. If it was the other way round, they would be left behind, losing contact with the pack. In case of an ambush they would be sacrificed. Then come 5 strong ones, the front line. In the center are the rest of the pack members, then the 5 strongest following. Last is alone, the alpha. He controls everything from the rear. In that position he can see everything, decide the direction. He sees all of the pack. The pack moves according to the elders pace and help each other, watch each other.” (source not confirmed, via Barbara Hemmel Bach)
We have much to reconcile. In many ways we insist on blindness, but I must say that based on my small experience, we are making good progress in tangible ways. That progress, not the blindness, is the thing to focus on.
My cello thunders down the hallway after all the gigs are done; the studio cats come racing to greet.
Happy Solstice, wherever you are on the planet.