Winter Solstice: Walking in Beauty

Solstice_GardenToday marks the solstice; here in the Northern Hemisphere days will now slowly lengthen. In years past we could anticipate strengthening cold would accompany the growing light. While that remains the case, the cold has grown more intermittent, as has the snow. Not enough cold air remains in the arctic to sustain the climate we depend on. There is no real doubt that our climate is dramatically, and rapidly, warming; there has been no true debate about this since the early eighties. 

Being winter, we are up most days well before dawn. I’m writing from my desk in the studio, as sunrise colors  grace the western horizon. Off to the east, a cloud bank obscures the rising sun.

I awoke this morning reminded of my time in northern New Mexico. Most days, no matter the time of year, were outside days. Walking through the landscape meant being an active part of the natural world. Often, hawks and golden eagles would accompany me as I strolled along deserted roads. Mesas, mountains, and vast skies were my companions, as were bear, elk, deer, and turkeys. A stroll along the creek bottom in warm weather meant one watched for rattlesnakes and black widow spiders.

Always, there was advice from the elders to “walk in balance and beauty”. Walking through the world, one was aware of being a small, although not insignificant, part of a great web of life, one’s state of mind, and one’s behavior, impacting the whole.  Somehow, in that vastness, thoughts and actions that were out of balance seemed to bring almost immediate repercussions, jarring one back into a state of spiritual, moral, and physical attentiveness. New Mexico remains for me a state of holiness, even with the violence that remains an ongoing part of its history.

Today, as the earth moves again towards summer, we remember the ancient admonition to “walk in beauty.”  We open our eyes and ears to the “beauty that lie before, behind, and above us”. We notice that even as our legs may have grown unsteady with hard use and age, our steps may carry us forward in beauty. We pray that even as we become unsteady on our feet, we may find balance in our thoughts and actions.

May you be held in beauty today. May it always be so.


34 thoughts on “Winter Solstice: Walking in Beauty

  1. Thank you for the beautiful and affirming post. I love the advice to “walk in balance and beauty” and immediately interpreted the beauty to refer to me as I walked. Different than your interpretation for this post to walk toward beauty – but I experience joy and well-being as I have the visual of me walking in beauty. And I am so thankful that I have the mind and spirit to seek and act in balance with life – being able to distinguish that which is unbalanced, recognize what is needed to find balance, and the ability to choose right over wrong. I appreciate your perspective and learn much from you.

    1. Ah, Pat, I am glad you are able to walk in beauty. Your posts and comments certainly reflect this. I guess I am ultra aware of the challenge inherent in being focused on where we place our feet and hearts. For me, those moments of balance and beauty are the stuff that makes life rich; they are also, usually, fleeting. Anyway, may you be blessed on your journey.

  2. Very beautiful Solstice post Michael 😀
    I have thought about, what is needed for all to learn to appreciate the beauty, we are so much surrounded by. I think, that all souls need to stay in nature, by walks etc., to learn to appreciate the peace and the beauty, as do exist all around us.
    Souls, who are working, living and staying indoor mostly of their life, how should they learn to appreciate our beautiful Mother Earth without using time to learn her to know? Just my thoughts.
    I love my daily walks in the nature. They help me staying in balance and I’m always in a better mood, when I come home, than before the walk.

    1. Irene, I hope you will long enjoy the walks you take. Yes, being outside is so important. I so appreciate the windows in our home, and the proximity of the natural world. Still, I miss easy access to a wilder world.

      1. Thank you Michael. I do enjoy so much and when I’m not able to walk much outside, either I open my windows to listen to the birds or sit at my patio and enjoy them, just to get a little nature close to. I do understand you miss this access.

      2. Irene, I am afraid I let responding to comments go at the holidays. Yes, I do miss access. Still there are places I may yet walk, and in decent weather I can use my disability scooter or power chair when needed. I am planning to find new ways to explore the world.

    1. Yes, it is a god time to be writing. I am less certain of the meaning of the solstice. Seems to me meaning is largely a matter of culture. Anyway, we hold the hope that we will always seek beauty and balance.

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