We pay special attention to the solstice, and, based on places like Stonehenge in Britain, human beings have been especially cognizant of the winter and summer solstice since time immemorial. The two points on the calendar each mark a beginning and an end, both at the same time. On the other hand, the equinox, whether spring of fall, is not about beginning or ending, but about being in passage. We are halfway through a journey, but we note it with little fanfare, compared to the solstice celebrations.
 
I wonder why we pay such attention to the summer and winter solstice, compared to the spring and autumn equinox. Perhaps it is because in life we are always focussed on results and conclusions; it is the arriving that matters. Or, conversely, we care about beginnings, about the launch of something new. In between the beginnings and the ends we note but little the passages that we must travel, though that is where most of our life is lived. 
 
Here in Idaho I see that each day there is a little more light and the plants and animals around me are beginning to respond to this fact. I see buds on the aspens, and the winter chickadees, though still here, are no longer the only birds that come around. It is a time of quickening, as we receive more and more of the sun’s energy with each passing day. And everything alive responds, sensing the change and picking up the pace of existence. As there is more light, our thoughts are lighter, as are our steps; light reflecting light.
 
This year there is something else, as friends and neighbors have begun to report their first appointments for the vaccine, or, for the fortunate among us, have already been vaccinated. It is a process which will take us through this entire spring to arrive at a remarkable new destination after a long night of darkness.
 
Because of all of this I can see that this year’s journey half way round the sun is a cause for real gratitude. Once again, along with all the other forms of organic life who are my fellow travelers, I have been given a carte de passage, and for it I am very grateful. I think that with each equinox that may come I will remember this one and the gratitude I felt. And know that it is not the arriving, but the journey that finally matters. And, while the solstice will no doubt remain permeated with joy and wonder, every future equinox will now be accompanied by a sense of gratitude for the journey.
 
Comments are welcome.
 
 

6 Comments

  1. So beautifully and meaningfully written, as always, Dennis. We look forward to seeing you at the lake in a few months, with all of us being vaccinated and hopefully a bit safer, because it’s been too many dark nights without enjoying yours and Karen’s friendship. So many reasons to be filled with gratitude. Thank you.

  2. Thanks, Susan, and yes, it looks like it may be a beautiful summer ahead! Be well, Dennis

  3. Dennis I could not agree more! It’s been difficult to describe a growing sense of anticipation, and yes, of arriving, and being so grateful for having gotten here. A year ago I couldn’t clearly imagine it as a successful journey, living with uncertainty and fear and caution, wondering what our “new normal” would be like. This sense of awe I feel is so appropriate; I, too, remind myself to cherish the journey and be grateful for it.

  4. Thanks, Debbie. Yes, it seems like the last year has lasted for five years, doesn’t it. And I know you feel, as I do, that our feeling of gratitude for a successful completion is colored by a deep sadness for so many who did not come through it all. To be holding both emotions at the same time is our state.
    Best, Dennis

  5. The vernal equinox, a opening to new life and direction, the moment when light in the northern and southern hemispheres is equal, the world in balance. I savor this moment and all it offers in terms of hope, friendships renewed, energy restored and the overwhelming sense of relief that we made it.

  6. All so true, Karen. And it is good to hear from you again.
    Be well, Dennis

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