By Margaret Nitka
THIS MORNING THE full moon shone bright orange as my alarm went off before 7 a.m. It glowed with the colors usually seen at sunset – sky tones of peach and pearly pink against a translucent blue sky. I walked out into a frosty morning along Polly’s Pond and entered the world of December with its magical interplay of waning moon and rising sun. The still, cold air and growing light encouraged me to walk along the pond, allowing me glimpses of new sunlight gleaming on water.
The truth is that there may not be as much light as I want at this time of year but what there is of it can reveal the secrets of a world tucking itself in for the winter. Leaves are all down by now and on those trees and bushes slow to shed them, they are curled up tight against themselves, ragged and brown and finished with their summer’s work. Seedpods dangle, swinging from branches like Christmas decorations, but reminding me that this is the season for nature to rest. Just add spring sunlight and tender new life will replace these shriveled pods. Busy, chatty birds are picking at berries clinging to branches and finding the fuel they need to survive the cold. I can see through the empty marsh, past the faded cattail flags, and watch the squirrels and birds busy themselves with the urgency of the task at hand.
There are no flowers, tender shoots, or bright shades of green to distract my eye. Instead there are only the restful shades of umber and ochre glowing quietly in the light, content in the coming of winter. And this allows me to really see what grows here in the thickets where I can appreciate the density and reach of it all. Our response to this season is to add light everywhere. We hold back the night with candles in our windows and twinkling garlands lighting our doors. But the full moon and sunrise of a December morning has a lot to show us about really seeing our world and making room to celebrate the gift of quiet darkness that happens at this time of year.