Reflections radiate themselves best for me in quiet moments; like the early hours of a new day, a walk by the river in the snow, or the rare moments when the full moon lights up a clear evening sky. Time seems to slow and reveal treasures of peace and contentment, though it is likely my awe, and my pocketing away of busyness for a few stolen moments, that unveils the spirit. This morning, as the eastern sky picks up a shades of orange and rose from the rising sun, our darkened world lightens after the longest night of the year. The first stirrings of life are birds singing a cheery hello, a runner breathing in the early world, stretching spaces in the mind as the stride loosens the gait. Perhaps thousands of years ago, the rising sun was the event of the day. Would a native James River woman, a man of the Yangtze or a family of the Jordan awake with expectation for the arrival of this bright star each morning, a spectacular show bringing assurance and purpose. Before electricity, its arrival must have been the stuff of magic, a pop and delight that earned it devotion and reverence.
The sun is our largest star. Bright and bold there is a happy countenance associated with this mass that resonates with feminine and masculine energy in many cultures across the globe. A Celtic perspective assigns feminine power to the sun’s rays. In 1619, the first organized group of women to Virginia must have brought a softening and warmth to the hardships of settlement culture. I like the imagery that there is the masculine and the feminine in its power. That we all carry that light and power to shine inside.
Last night, winter came to Richmond with a bright, beautiful moon lighting a cloud-dotted December sky. Laden with stars, there was a mystic appeal to this solstice that heralded in a longest night, a full moon rising today, with Christmas Eve coming to us on Monday, with sunshine spread before us in the forecast! I greeted Winter in Carytown, at Local x Ashby, a seasonal Pop-In, signing copies of my book of poetry Flight: of butterflies and robins and other winged dreams. Devoted to bringing thoughtful gifts by local creatives to your eye the vibe was warm and festive, matching the mild temperatures outside. Shoppers, like the charismatic new to RVA couple who took our Bike & Yoga this year, popped-in and mingled with tinsel-tangled Christmas lists dangling in their minds. Carytown was all twinkly on this Winter Solstice with the starry sky, the winsome moon, the Christmas lights, and the throngs hoping to find that gift that shines. Don’t we all love to give a gift that radiates with the recipient? Don’t we delight in the expectant face opening a box of sunshine, feeling our loved one feel the love symbolized by the token?
The sun is like a gift each morning. Our smiles are gifts of sunshine. Our kind gesture and our pause are offerings of warmth. It is two-fold. The giving of our best stokes the rays of brilliance within, remaining kindled when we pause to refill the baskets of our souls with a quite walk, or an enchanting bike excursion taking in the offerings of nature.
As is my want this time of year I try to get in a winter walk by the James River to reflect upon the majesty contained in our little corner of the world. With the quietude of a winter walk, as when we bike the Virginia Capital Trail together, I see things I might miss from the car; a cluster of birds pecking at seeds and darting through lowered branches, a singular squirrel prizing a nut from his hidden hoard, or a thrilling kayaker suited up for a bracing paddle. And maybe just the simple discovery of a dandelion sprouting for all its worth between a rock and a hard place. Call it a gift. Call it the sun on earth.
The dandelion, of the daisy family, edible and as plentiful as stars in the sky, means Lion’s Tooth. It’s jagged petals resemble the teeth of the sun king and turn soft as a lamb when it withers to seed. The feather light kiss of wishes. The lion and the lamb. The hoped for light. A reminder of the warmth and power of the rising sun to lighten even the darkest corners of our world. A reminder of youthful joy and wishes come true. Happiness spread like a blanket of dreams, like stars on the ground. A light for our feet, a way along a path we may not yet understand or know, but that we follow nonetheless.
Mary and Joseph must have greeted the first light of sun on Christmas Day with such joy for this new hope entrusted to their care. I hope you allow a little of the mystic and the mystery back into your lives during this season of renewal, that you take pause to watch the sun come up before you turn on the lights in the house, that you consider this world entrusted to our care. Come spring we will gather new baskets of sunshine together. We’ll stop to admire the fair and humble dandelion so that thus replenished we can give unexpected little gifts. We can pour out our hearts for others, yet again, spilling with sunshine, radiating purpose and warmth.
A Very Happy Christmas!
XO Anne Poarch • Founder • Basket & Bike