It is deep and dark and cold. Lake Superior is gamely trying to create an ice road for us, as the ferry stopped running ten days ago and we scramble now with a remarkable Wind Sled. Not for the faint of heart, but the older children take it each day to school on the mainland. The ice road signals freedom.
Day after day I shelter more deeply in this solitude and silence. Doing retreats in favor of being. Like the other big mammals, I have surrendered to the pull of the season, like gravity – forces we rarely are so privileged that we can recognize them.
I’ve been reading Rebecca Solnit, and came across a beautiful essay, Woolf’s Darkness. Here is Solnit quoting Woolf in To the Lighthouse:
“For now she need not think about anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of – to think, well, not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated, and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others. Although she continued to knit, and sat upright, it was thus that she felt herself, and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures. When life sank down for a moment, the range of experience seemed limitless. . . . Beneath it is all dark, it is all spreading, it is unfathomably deep; but now and again we rise to the surface and that is what you see us by. Her horizon seemed to her limitless.”
There is deep sanity in all this. Give yourself a taste before the days get too long!