I have been resisting… or waiting… the waiting feels like something sacred. Maybe because it is. It is the first of February. In my body’s calendar, this is the date I have been waiting for. It is when things can start. The crows – who caw noisily from the trees behind me – know, too. They are telling each other, and me, and anyone else who will listen – it is time to shift these winter bones.
Other calendars agree with me (and the crows) It is also the Lunar (Chinese, Tibetan, East Asian) New Year. And in the Celtic Calendar – that guides my own heart – the beginning of Imbolc, Saint Brigid’s Day, and the (sort of) end of winter. Tomorrow is the Christian feast of Candlemas: an ending – of the season of Epiphany; and a beginning – of ‘Ordinary’ time (before the Lenten fast makes it special all over again)
If I was a conspiracy theorist (and I am not) I might imagine it to be some sort of test: who can override their internal body clock enough to ‘succeed’ in the system?
Imbolc sends impulses to my dormant winter cells throughout January, simultaneously poking me to wake up…and urging me to wait. My yearly last-minute tax return – filed just in time for the Jan 31st deadline – shouldn’t be a surprise by now. Nor should it be a source of personal beratement. If I was a conspiracy theorist (and I am not) I might imagine it to be some sort of test: who can override their internal body clock enough to ‘succeed’ in the system?
In the deeper sense of the word, it is a ‘conspiracy’, in that it is something that we all tacitly, collectively, culturally, agree to go along with.
Con Spirare: To breathe together; To agree.
We are compelled to imagine ourselves to be something other than organisms that respond to light and dark and seasonal shifts. Just as do the crows, and the trees that they call from, and the snowdrops just beginning to poke their heads from the soil beneath. When the snowdrops come then we know for sure that Spring is coming too. Sometimes, the snowdrops are ‘early’ and sometimes they are ‘late’. Stately homes and gardens advertise their displays well in advance, knowing that the flowers will surely appear, but not entirely certain that they will do so on the ‘right’ date.
The inner knowledge that there is a time to step back into the world speaks from deep down as ‘not now’.
Waiting is inner, seasonal wisdom. It is sometimes – but not always- calendrical. There is, for the snowdrops, and the crows, a ‘right’ moment. A knowing. For me, waiting – or rather the resistance of it – shows up as procrastination, as exhaustion, as doubt. Sometimes as fear. The inner knowledge that there is a time to step back into the world speaks from deep down as ‘not now’.
These past two winters have allowed me to practice sinking into this ‘not nowness’ rather than struggling to understand, forcing myself to analyse it, or trying to overcome it. What has happened is that the moment of ‘yes, now’ is much more apparent than it ever has been before.
Although you could have been reading this yesterday, or tomorrow. For me, today is when Things Can Start.
With every blessing for Imbolc, for the Lunar New Year, for Saint Brigid’s Day, and (tomorrow) for Candlemas
- The Crow photo is by Mark Timberlake on Unsplash
- The snowdrops photo is by Yoksel 🌿 Zok on Unsplash