It’s Winter Solstice, and Old Crane Woman is in the bog. She’s standing by a peat-black pool which reflects the solstice moon. Light and dark, dark and light. Old Crane Woman loves the dark. In the dark she can begin to see; too much light can sometimes blind. Love the dark, Old Crane Woman says. It’s where our roots lie buried.
Everybody loves light, Old Crane Woman mutters. Love and light, love and light. Have they never found love in the dark? Everybody loves light; everybody wants to flush out the dark. Shine a light into all the shadows, reveal all the world’s secrets. Spill it all, tell everybody everything. Let no pain go unsung, let no wound remain covered. Light up the night skies and banish the stars. Let nothing remain a mystery.
Love the long dark, Old Crane Woman says. Out of that we are born. This is the Winter Solstice. Celebrate the return of the light, but mourn the retreat of the long dark.
You, darkness, that I come from
I love you more than all the fires
that fence in the world,
for the fire makes a circle of light for everyone
and then no one outside learns of you.
But the darkness pulls in everything—
shapes and fires, animals and myself,
how easily it gathers them! —
powers and people —
and it is possible a great presence is moving near me.
I have faith in nights.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Old Crane Woman has faith in nights.
It’s Winter Solstice, and Old Crane Woman has finished her nest. Soon it will be time to lay an egg. Soon it will be time to sit, and hatch. Old Crane Woman knows about sitting. Old Crane Woman has hatched an egg or two, in her time. Grianstad an Gheimhridh: the time when the sun stands still. From the stillness of this Solstice, Old Crane Woman will go to the stillness of her nest.
But first, Old Crane Woman is going to dance.
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is …
… Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
TS Eliot, Four Quartets
At the still point of the turning world, Old Crane Woman is going to dance. Watch Old Crane Woman dance. Watch the strange beauty of the Crane Dance.