As Fall leaves us with Her dieing gasp for the year, we can feel the skies hollow. Quaint Summer sounds that seemed swallowed in the abyss of active live become torrential echoes. Steel grey skies begin to thwart the baby blue. Green becomes orange, orange becomes brown, and the browning means ever death.
The Cailleach comes down from her perch, as Brigid takes her Sun indoors to hunker down with the larder she’s spent the year preparing. And what a wonderful time she should have, while the rest of us take to the snow to harden our hearts and our hides. Fimbul shakes his fist and Surtur takes the bow. Ragnarøk is the everyman’s Calendar, but take heart, Ginunngagap is coming soon and Midgard will be ours again. Insert your own metaphor, but say what you will, the changing of the seasons is worth a pound of poetry to be paid in full not so much to Shylock, but to our own soul.
Every year I wait with anticipation for the First Snow. Which, I should note does not include the spitting of little angel dander I saw in a quaint town in lower central Maine last week.
(First Snow means havok for the unready. It means having to count poor sods flipped in ditches in an inch or two of snow. It means remembering most drivers don’t know the meaning of “fishtail.” It means New Hampshire and Massachusetts go home. Although, this year, we had a lot of Vermont tourists whose driving isn’t quite so odious. So it goes.)
I find that as Summer fades into Fall, there is a burst of creative energy. Ideas I might have that sit in the shelves of my mind collecting dust become prescient. My hands become ever ready to engage with my shop equipment. I made some helpful breakthroughs in my whittling and wood-carving game and made some (for me) improvements on the wooden toys I’ve been flirting with making for the Etsy shop that I’ll open at approximately the same time Hell freezes over. I did other things too. Found it in myself to think in fictions again, I also learned Pentadic Numerals so I can stop being math-cucked by Mohamet Amabombashoe in my gym notes. I did some large tracts of work in my ongoing hardscaping project. Energy.
And that energy wanes, as things are wont to do. We like to think we’re above the Natural Order. We like to think our big little brains spare us the indelicacies of animal life. They don’t. A man’s eyes wander when he sees a pretty thing. A woman finds herself drifting in her material wants and struggling to belay the impulse. Of course, those are common examples – the list ends in death, otherwise it has no end. No end of application not less permutation. The active domain of the human being constitutes a slim margin of a much broader and less understood deeper being. By active domain, I mean rational, voluntary thought and action. Not mere thought, not all thought is a movement of will. Thoughts are free, they say, which means we don’t truly own them. They are only borrowed, as Odin might say, from self to self. They come and go, and whence they come and whither they go, is up for debate. Æther, maybe. That is what I think – some days.
It is why Meta-Cognition is such a valuable concept. Did you know, that many folk have never given thought to the fact that they can be made aware they are thinking? This means a quantifiable portion of society has never thought about what it means to think. Much less done anything other than take for granted that they do think. Some might not even think much at all. What a dreadful thought.
The indelicacies of animal living.
Nature has been described as wheels turning within wheels. A great Clockwork tapestry of divine ordinance. It is a very comfortable metaphor. For truly, if we had to rely on thought alone for being, we would be doomed.
Consider the snippet of natural rhythm we began with. A man comes into his raw, brute strength and physical acumen by Spring and Summer. In Fall he is smitten with a creative enthusiasm. And in Winter he is gripped by contemplative spheres. Is it not a breath of Nature’s Liturgy? Spring requires preparation, Summer intense toil, Fall more planning, and Winter surviving. You must plan your crop, reap your harvest, manage your resources and make the best of a fallow that follows. Nature lies dormant in the Blood, the Blood does not forget what the tongue would hide.
I find also, a corrollary. They say it is best never to go to bed angry. If you’ve fought with your wife, see to it the conflict is resolved before your head hits the pillow. Likewise, it is unwise to carry a tainted conscience into the Winter. The late Fall is the best time for the examination of conscience. I think, though I suspect it may be a novelty on my part. I recall no such notion from any of the doctrines I’ve studied.
Everything that echoes is louder in the Winter, more ominous. The splintering of dead wood in the deep. The crack of ice in far off streams. The primitive layer of the brain remembers: these things herald more. What lurks that cracked the ice, splintered the wood? Is it storm, or stress? Likewise, your unconscious mind knows that unrequited baggage festers. In the Winter there are fewer tasks to dull the mind’s edge, less to throw yourself at to avoid what eats your soul. And as your faculties have been primed with that native energy, it is best to use it to ease your mind.
To deal with the conscience often quells blockages, which dampen your mood. Even unaware you can find yourself in a state of ruin, carrying moral riddles or unfinished business. These waves radiate outward and can affect everything you do. It is no wonder in Winter those problems often grow. Problems of relations are magnified, and issues that seemed small become big.
So as one might prepare their goods for storage, it seems also sound to clear out your mind from any impediments. So it is, so it goes. Have a happy Thanksgiving, and for those who do the do, may your resolutions from Winternights carry you through till Spring when Brigid comes up out of her well stocked slumber to break Cailleach’s hands, and melt the frost with her warmth.