On the solstice, the year’s high tide of light, I was reminded of the ebb and flow of our existence. This longest day, the peak of the wave, is also the beginning of the fading of the light.
I love the fullness of summer, the long days, the bounty and spectacle of fruits of all colors. I love the swooping and diving of the swallows who built their nests under the eaves of a nearby building and their little heads peeking out of the holes, keeping watch. Summer is a time for savoring some of the sweetest gifts of life, and its arrival began with the winter solstice.
I often forget nature’s rhythm or try to live as if I could choose to be apart from it, as if force of will could keep the wave of productivity ever cresting. As if this were somehow desirable.
If we try to skip our own ebb times—hours, days, or seasons—it’s so much harder for the fruitfulness naturally growing within us to fully ripen. We are so convinced that we have to do something, to work hard to become what we are supposed to be, but life is working within and around us to draw forth and bring into being who we are.
This process of becoming is not so much up to us as we think. We can’t hurry it along any more than swallows can build their nests in winter.
Allowing our own ebb and flow requires trusting life. There are so many reasons not to trust—chronic sickness, war, cruelty of all kinds—but perhaps the deepest reason is that we do not believe in our own divinity, that who we are becoming is beautiful and beloved.
It’s easy to see how this happens. Our culture tells us hundreds if not thousands of times a day that love depends on performance and appearance when anyone who has loved another person, animal, or plant can tell you that this is fundamentally untrue. We love the dog’s floppy ear, and we often love our friends most tenderly when they’re struggling.
Summer and winter, ebb and flow, the Life and Love that lives through us sees that we are dazzling.