This autumn’s warmth has dominated the past two days. Yesterday we, and our neighbors, took the opportunity to complete yard work, retire gardens for the season, and put up holiday lights. As we did so, we were reminded these tasks are much easier when done in warm weather! Last night, new lights blessed the street.
This morning is dark and rainy, a welcome change given this year of drought. Later, the rain is forecast to change to snow, with significant accumulations likely in the mountains. This is achy body weather, welcome and dreaded; the aches will likely increase as the temperature drops. Given the extraordinary warmth in the arctic, I wonder how long this cold snap will last, and fervently hope winter will settle in for a healthy stay.
Like many, the past week we’ve been wrestling with the hatred let loose across the country and the world. I find myself struggling to grasp the ruthlessness with which the Other is attacked, and the willingness to harm self and community in pursuit of some mythical concept of purity. I am reminded of the power of images, archetypes, and beliefs, and of their persistence in the face of overwhelming evidence.
Belief is powerful, and often good! My world is filled with forces and spirits unseen. Yet, I have come to understand that belief must be grounded in the everyday world, must “grow corn” to feed the community. If ideas cause suffering, they are most likely faulty. If behaviors harm self, others, or the environment, they are best let go of. Of course, there are many times when things are unclear, when no action seems free of harm; at such times we hope to do the least harm possible. Always we are told to think , and vision, forward many generations, seemly a very challenging task for us humans.
As winter approaches, and ill tidings mount, we are reminded of the Windigo, the archetypal ice-hearted cannibal giants who, consumed by insatiable hunger, lose their humanity and destroy all that is held dear. There is always, as we have seen too often, the possibility they will be set free to roam the landscape, with devastating consequences.
I believe the Windigos are both a part of the human psyche, and external forces that influence us. The wise ones tell us that once freed, they are difficult, but not impossible, to stop. It takes a community, working together, to protect the vulnerable and to melt the Windigos’ hearts of ice, returning their humanity, or to exile them for the good of all. We shall see what we are able to do.