Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Light

The days are short here in the Pacific Northwest.  This is the dark time of the year, with late sunrises and early sunsets, at least on those days which are not so storm filled that we can’t see the sun’s brightness at all.  Some days are twilight blue from beginning to end.

This past weekend, out on the Oregon Coast, some of our family gathered together.  Snug in our lodgings perched high above the waves, we watched as the storms moved, one after another, before us…thunder rolling, lightning flashing, rain and hail pouring down upon us or battering against the windows.  Sun breaks lit the sky with rainbows and back-lit an ever-active parade of cloud formations.

Cozy around the fire one evening, we talked about sharing the light we each have within us, and about how important it is that we share it.  The conversation ranged over all aspects of this sharing: the need to trust our perception of what we have to offer, the challenge of acting on it in spite of our fears, the challenge of taking that first step which then leads to all other steps.

One gift that has blessed my life is the gift of songwriting.  Songwriting is a wonderful and intricate process.  The words written must express thoughts, feelings and epiphanies with clarity and beauty, and the use of words must be sparing.  Each word, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, is important to the whole.

And so it is with the light we each bring into the world.  Even if what we bring seems small or insignificant to us, it is always important to the whole, to all of us who inhabit this beautiful Earth.  Each of us has something positive to contribute and every one of those contributions are needed, from simple loving kindness in our daily lives, to working at all of our tasks with care and attention, to pursuing and allowing our own healing, to taking the leap and diving into a creative effort, to allowing creativity to infuse all that we do, to trusting our inspirations and acting upon them.

The darkness of this time of year highlights the efforts of those trying to express the greater light within them. It is a time when light reaches out and can bring comfort to us all.  Today, the winter solstice, I offer my re-writing of an old song that speaks of the comfort and light of this season. 

May your day and your winter be blessed and filled with light….Lorna
Contemporary Sacred Music

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlefolk
Original song, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, 15th century
This version, December, 2009
Lorna Carolyn Aites

God rest ye merry gentlefolk
Let nothing you dismay
And know ye that this season’s light
Will guide you on your way
It lifts our hearts
It brings us hope
When we have gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy


On mountaintops, on oceans,     
In countries far and near
This light shines brightly in our hearts
So radiant and clear
The sun and stars and moon rejoice
The end of all that’s drear
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy


Now with your voice sing praises
All you within this place
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace
This holy time of light and love
To all bestows its grace
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Garden thoughts, pathways, and a beginning. . .

The inspiration came to me two summers ago…a beautiful neighborhood hillside with native plants and a path running through, a place for people to walk and to enjoy the natural beauty.  This hillside wraps around the base of our street and up along a very busy main street.  The beauty of this tended hillside would eventually help to slow the traffic dashing pell-mell down this main arterial.  The plant life, provided with a good organic foundation, would consume some of the pollution the automobiles hurl in our direction.

The spring following this inspiration, just a couple of days before several of us planned to begin cleaning this  neighborhood hillside, my back began to have some serious difficulties leading to many months of pain and, finally, surgery from which I am now, slowly but surely, recovering.  Once again, I have seen, and perhaps learned a little better, that the course from inspiration to realization of any creative project unwinds in its own time.  The experience also highlights the place we each have in community, a part of the whole, but truly just a part.  While I have been incapacitated, others have begun the work and the hillside is, indeed, freer of blackberry brambles than it was a year earlier.  Trees are emerging from the under and overgrowth and change is in process.

Winter has settled in, all over the country.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have already seen snow, and are anticipating drenching rains in the next several days.  The days are short and, when cloudy, dark, gloomy and dismal.  People put up outdoor lights here simply to brighten the dreary scene outdoors, without reference to any particular holiday.  For me, there are many, many lovely things about this season, not the least of which is the opportunity to dive into the garden books on my shelves and plan next year’s garden projects.  For me, it is a time for reading and writing, both rich parts of my life since childhood.

Writing is one of the primary ways I work through the complexities of my life.  I have thought about doing a blog for some time, but have held back simply because I do not see why the world needs yet another blog.  This morning, it comes to me that the world does not, in fact, need it.  I do.  I write simply to see the world a little differently than the pictures and stories that revolve around in my brain, to move out of that circular perspective and reach gently into something wider.  If you would like to join me, I will be glad of your company and your thoughts and your inspirations along the way.

Blessings to you, Lorna
Contemporary Sacred Music