Imbolc is the time of year between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. This is possibly my favorite time of year, at this time in my life. The balance of day and night, cold with the promise of new growth, and yet still social acceptable to hibernate. Each one of us has a season we favor. Have your favorites changed over time? Mine have and to me this reflection of how and why mine have changed has brought some welcome insights.
When I was young, I would say summer was my favorite - hello, no school and abundant pool time (I love water). As I reached my adulthood, fall was my favorite, the return of school (learning in connection), the crisper air, the vibrant colors, and some of my favorite food flavors in abundance. At some point fall gave way to spring, a season filled with hope and newness.
And now this year, I notice my love for this midwinter point, Imbolc. The trees are still bare, modeling strength in vulnerability, the air is still cold, the night is still abundant, and even with winter still heavy in the air, signs of new growth are visible in the garden. The very tops of the peonies are a few millimeters out of the ground, and daffodil leaves have pierced through the winter beds. This moment, with just the smallest signs of a new season, the tiniest spark, is digestible to my being.
This time is marked by turning towards nature in a variety of traditions: Imbolc, St. Brigid’s Day, Groundhog Day, Lunar New Year, Tu Bishvat (the Jewish holiday celebrating trees). Marking this time is as old as we are. May we find comfort in the subtle signs that something new is on the horizon.
My invitation for you during this touchpoint - what are the arcs that you have witnessed in your own being? How many Imbolcs have you witnessed? Where were you 5, 10, 20, 50 years ago during this season? What new majestic caverns have been carved within throughout those eras? Drop by drop is the everlasting way.
Each Imbolc lands differently year after year. When we start to measure our lives by nature's time, we see our evolution in a more spacious and grace filled way. Instead of beating ourselves up for not moving fast enough, or hustling to accomplish, we witness the smaller, deeper changes of the caverns within. And those changes that move at a slower pace, that consider time in long arcs instead of bite size 24 hours, 30 days, 1 year, anchor us again and again into our way, not other people's way.
My hope is this season offers you a gentle reflection of how you have shifted throughout the weather of your life. That you allow yourself to be in whatever season your find yourself in, knowing others have been there before you. And that this Imbolc is the reminder that the smallest signs of life find us when we are deep in wintering.
May the fires burn bright for you during this season of hope and renewal.