Dog is very much on my mind right now, as our quiet midwinter time has been fractured by a new arrival. With three border collies already in the house, we don’t of course have room for a fourth, I reassured my long-suffering husband a few days ago. (Though there really is plenty of space …) But wouldn’t it be nice to help out MADRA, the utterly brilliant dog rescue centre down the road, by responding to their plea for foster-homes for some of their dogs over the holidays? Our third dog, Jess, is a rescue dog, and she is the most well-adjusted and adoring companion you could ever wish for. Surely we could give another poor rescue dog a couple of weeks of respite?
Do you feel it in your bones? A sense that something has shifted, that the world has turned? The dark is far from over, but it’s no longer rising. Something new is coming; something new is ready to be birthed.
But there you are, still in the darkness; still hunkered down in the cave. And caves, as I wrote in If Women Rose Rooted, are ‘the black, chasmal mouths of the Otherworld; the gateways to transformation – the deep and enduring transformations which are delivered from exposure to the darkest of places. The night-filled, fecund womb-places of the Earth – out of them we are reborn.’
Winter Solstice. Today, at 16.28 GMT. The still point of the turning world. Where the dance is. Will you dance, at 16.28 GMT? I will. I’ve been practicing my still dance, my contradictory dance, my paradoxical dance: my dance that is a dance and yet is a still point at the same time. That’s what I’ve been working on for the past few days. To repeat my Eliot quote from the beginning of all this:
Fox. Sleek streak of fire in a dull grey winter morning. Foxfire, revontulet: the Finnish name for the Northern Lights. Foxfire, after the belief that the aurora was created by foxes running so fast across the tundra that they sent up sparks and set the sky on fire. Foxfire, sometimes called ‘fairy fire’: the bioluminescence created by some species of fungi present in decaying wood.
Images by Lea Bradovich
Did you know that bees dance? It happens all the time. Watch a hive in summer, and you’ll see them building up to it. Look at that one: see how she comes in low and fast? She’s probably a scout. She’s heading back home to report on new sources of food that she’s discovered. When she gets inside the hive, do you know what she’ll do? She’ll dance, of course!
What water knows is how to adapt. How to become liquid, snow, ice or vapour, depending on what is required of you – and yet always to remain, at heart, the pure essence of what you are. (It’s always H2O.)
Water is the essence of change: it can mirror, conceal or reveal, depending on whether or how it moves.
Water is the essence of contradiction: it can soothe, and heal – but it can also kill.
Water, in many mythologies, is the primeval substance of creation, and studies of evolution suggest that life on Earth evolved out of water.