What Happens in the Dark

In the swing, in the dark, I sip coffee and rhythmically sway back and forth underneath the old Pecan. A cold front is blowing in but the old sweater I have tossed on over my cotton gown and silk pajama bottoms are doing the trick and keeping me warm enough.

I’m watching the wind blow through the strong boughs of the trees and watching Saturn and Jupiter dance ever closer to the great conjunction that occurs between them in December. It is the day before Thanksgiving and I am planning and creating a mental checklist of the foods I’ll soon be preparing. I hear an owl and I pause for a moment, lists falling to the wayside.

Because I mark time not only in days and weeks and national holidays but also in terms of moon phase and sun sign, planetary transit, and season, I know there is a Full Moon at the end of the month on November 30th and that the moon will be in the sign of Gemini.

Gemini, the sign of the Divine Twins, sun sign of my youngest child who shares a birthday with his great great grandfather. In Astrology, Gemini is the sign of communication and learning, friendships, and siblings. It is also, and perhaps foremost, the sign of connection.

Connection in 2020 is what I am thankful for but it takes me a while to get there. In many ways, this year has felt so very disconnected as schools shut down and playgrounds emptied, and offices closed. I remember the first of what would be many drive-by birthday celebrations – decorated cars, parents putting on brave faces for their kids when a friend of mine spontaneously burst into tears because it was March and we couldn’t even hug each other and didn’t yet know what was coming.

I remember too, the empty streets and empty shops, the increasingly desperate emails from local movie theaters and restaurants trying with all their might to stay in business.

The sense of disconnection and isolation hasn’t only been social. It’s been political too. Now that classes have resumed where I live we drive down a road with two large homes on opposite sides of the street during our morning drive to school. One house has a huge flag with Trump’s name emblazoned on it, the other has a yard full of Biden signs. I wonder if these neighbors talk to each other, I voice out loud my hope that they do, that they are friends. They are, after all, neighbors. I wonder if there was a fire if they would help each other. I believe they would and I have irrationally pinned my hope for the country’s future on that belief, surely neighbors can and do find a place to meet. Maybe it is in the middle of the road, an invisible field we drive through Monday through Friday. Surely we aren’t as divided and alone as we sometimes feel.

Sitting on the swing in the dark, the owl is calling out for a mate. It is a low call and I hear a response coming from a tree across the road. They are finding each other.

This month’s Full Moon will be the last before the Winter Solstice, the Return of the Light. It is the Full Moon that guides us into the darkest part of a year that has been heavy with shadow. It is the Moon that has the potential to show us what really happens in the dark.

I reflect on what I no longer take for granted. Going to the grocery store, working out with a girlfriend, a Monday when lunches are packed and the kids head off to school, hugging my grandmother, meeting friends for lunch…all of these things are no longer expected, no longer assumed or given, they are privileges, and they are precious. I gather them up in the darkness like stars strewn about, reveling in their brilliance.

Friendships have formed and tightened this year too. For the kids and grown ups both. We send each other funny memes and dirty jokes, laundry hacks, and notifications when our favorite things are on sale. We do it because we are together in the knowledge that we are all walking a tightrope now and we are each other’s nets. We know if we falter or miss a step one of our people will be there, arms raised, ready to catch us.

In truth, it’s always been this way but we see it better in the darkness. I started out the year by reading a book all about the things that live under the ground and in the dark, caves, and glaciers, and nuclear bombs are some to name a few.

My favorite part was the chapter about fungi. Specifically the tiny filaments of mycelium that connect all trees to one another, deep underground, in the dark, wrapping us in an organic world wide web. They are what happens in the dark, little hands reaching out to join others. They are a true story, told by the Earth itself, of what this year has taught me first and foremost: that we are all, and always, connected to one another.

That is what happens in the dark. We find each other.

Full Moon Ceremony: People fall through the cracks. Especially in times like these and especially during the holidays. They feel like they aren’t connected and when they begin to fall they don’t see any hands upraised to catch them. So for your ceremony on this Full Moon, I encourage you to reach up and reach out…to the ones that make you crazy, the ones having a hard time, the ones it is easy to forget.

Let them know you are here and that you care. Remind them of your connection to each other. Show them that they too have a safety net and that you will find them, even and perhaps especially, in the dark.

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