Knowing sacred places in the shadows, I come to a new understanding of them. When I approach them in the blue January twilight, instead of the blazing June sun, I see things a little bit differently.
I walked this trail in June, on June 29th to be exact. I have walked it since then. Once in fall. Now in winter. So far, 3 seasons I’ve marked on this trail. It’s a newer trail for me.
In summer I came with questions.
In winter, I came with the same questions, but I have changed.
I see the dark and light of me. The shades all in between. I have stumbled, I have lost my way, I have walked many twilights and dark nights in the past 6 months.
One time in late fall, I visited this trail in pitch dark. Without a flashlight. Momentarily, I used the light from my phone to find the path to the bridge. Then I stood on the bridge in the darkness. I couldn’t see the water around me. I could barely make out the outlines of the trees. Slowly, they came into focus. I felt so out of place. I had inner tremors of fear. I wished I could make out my surroundings. I pushed myself to walk a few steps beyond the bridge, just to know that I could. To know the dark was not going to overwhelm me. And slowly I found a strange comfort there, a twinge of wild-ness.
I returned tonight just before sunset, walked the trail with a bounce in my step. Questions still here, living in my body, but my expansive soul had stopped contracting around them. Instead of getting so small in attempts to find certainty, tonight, I was expanded with possibility. I was a beautiful mystery. The snow clung to branches like my soft skin clings to my skeleton; in other words, my body remembered itself.
I found the glade I love, chanted to the wind, called the guru in me that I most dislike (scary!) but most need; the wild one. the untamed changeable one. the Black Panther of my soul. the Bluebeard man in my psyche who exposes the old stories in which I’ve systematically murdered my sweet Self. Guru. Devo. Maheshwara. The breeze danced down while I sang it, slowly… Guru devo maheshwara, guru sakshat, param brahma, tasmai shri guruvay namaha.
I began back down only to turn around and see fiery sunset clouds erupting over the glen where I’d just stood. I understood their brilliant symbolism, the fire I have died in, and rise from. I smiled, I was not afraid, I was cheered by this light show the earth acknowledged me in. A sign that I am grand and glorious still, perhaps more glorious because I am rising out of the deepest dark I’ve ever known.
And I walked back down through the cool January woods, with the blue light of winter sculpting my path. It was not the harsh light of winter day, but the softness of twilight. I am not out of the darkness yet, only beginning to see and understand in a new way. There is a softness to this iteration of me that I have not seen before. But an uncanny wilderness, too. An awareness, a watchful grace. I move slowly, like the light does down the mountainside as the sun disappears behind it.
In this moment, I am still afraid. But I am beginning to know my soul, and to know my strength. I embody twilight.
“I will never see the sky the same way
And I have learned to say goodbye to yesterday and I
Will never cease to fly if held down and
I will always reach too high, cuz I’ve seen
cuz I’ve seen