Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

On Winter Mornings

Outside our apartment, sparrows gather on barren branches, puffing their chests out and singing the cold away. Squirrels hunt for hidden caches of nuts, wishing they could remember where they’d been carefully tucked away. In the grey light of early morning, the stray cats slink into basements seeking warmer berth, leaving tracks in the fresh snow to greet us.
Upon waking, we rise and brew coffee to drink and coffee to share, slipping feet into furry shoes and grabbing the shawls that lay strewn aside chairs in wait. We fill the feeder outside with seeds for the birds and strew nuts about the yard for the skittering squirrels. We leave a bowl of kibble at the back of the house for the cats with no family to take them in. I don’t believe in not feeding the wildlife. We are all animal kin and we are living where their forests used to be.
Each morning we are grateful for the breath that hangs in smoky clouds against the cold. It means we are alive. We are grateful for the layers that warm us and the walls that shelter us.
I set a cup of coffee on the table for my Grandpa Dick’s spirit. When I was a child, he was the only one I knew who drank it. The smell of the bean still reminds me of him, even though he drank instant. My Grandpa remembered when they didn’t have coffee because of rationing and it reminds me to be grateful for the plenty we have daily.
I light candles for my ancestors, for those who struggled against cold and hunger and sickness… so that I might be here, in my heated home, wrapped in woolen shawls, my hands around a mug of steaming tea. I think of those loved by my family who were unknown to me, my Great-Grandpa Harold and my Grandma Ruth. I wonder about my Great-Grandma Margaret, who died when her daughter was eight. I think of my Great-Grandparents Royal and Hattie.
In the waking light, in my home with my family, I cannot help but remember those I loved who are no longer with me: my Great-Grandma Elsie, my Grandma Donna and Grandpa Dick. They were all parents to me. My Grandpa Mark exists only as a single memory in my head, but I remember him, too. I love him for the father he was to mine. Every morning I remember Luna and Bella. And every day the grief is less and the memories happier.
On winter mornings, we sit in the silence, stretching out our hearts and thoughts. We have gratitude for our family and friends we feel waking in their own homes, tugging at the strings of the web that connects us all. Though we are not geographically close, we are never far away. The web we share blankets the earth and there is great comfort in that.

In the winter we light fires and candles and turn thermostats to fight away the cold. I hold our sacred web against the dark days and the gloom of the world. As morning brightens, and days lengthen, we feed our cats, shovel our sidewalk, and take a moment to enjoy a late morning cup of tea together, drinking in the stillness of the season.

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