The Winter Solstice was three days ago. It has been so dark, which is to be expected at this latitude but it has also been persistently gray and rainy for weeks. Yes, there have been a couple of clearings in the sky, “sun breaks”, as they are called in these parts, but it has been pretty gray around here. Oh yeah, it has also been pretty windy, too windy for me to carry an umbrella during my last few walks.

As unpleasant as the weather has been, we eagerly anticipated the Solstice. This is the day when the pit of darkness finds its deepest point. On the 23rd, I took another walk. It seemed that I could actually tell that there was one more minute of morning light we had gotten. I knew that we’d get an additional minute on the end of the day.

Two minutes. Two more minutes of sunlight. I thought about it as I walked in the rain and wind. I thought about it even as the rain soaked my gloves and my hands grew cold.

Two minutes of light is noticeable.

Two minutes is meaningful.

I fixed my gratitude on those two minutes.

Thinking of this, I took another two minutes to do a visual mindfulness exercise. I turned my head to the left and looked at the plants and rocks that ran along the sidewalk. Turning away was a natural thing to do as during these moments, a rainy wind was pelting me in the face. I saw some interesting patterns and lovely colors.

In between these mindful minutes, I had a few thoughts of, “Wow, it is nasty out.” But those thoughts did not last long. I just returned to walking.

I got where I wanted to go. I found meaning. I found beauty. A couple of minutes at a time.

There are times in my life when those moments and small bits of time, the time that is not awful, provide a glimpse into a fuller reality. I find them anchoring.

Today I had more than minutes of not awful. Today I had a lovely Christmas with my family.

Ivy enjoying an extra minute of morning light. 12/23/15

Ivy enjoying an extra minute of morning light. 12/23/15