Once again the sunrise woke me, or so I thought — but since it was only 5:15 AM, it couldn’t be. It was La Luna Bella, sailing high and gracefully in the west. No cock is crowing, it is the Moon who kissed me awake.
On Saturday evening we took the 4 PM ferry into town, and had to pull the car over and stop to watch the most amazing sunset we’d seen in a long time. Brilliant magenta pinks, blazing reds, sweet oranges, against steel blue and grey thunder clouds and the massive dark bulk of Orcas Island. All this, reflected in a lake that only a few days ago was a harvested corn field. (The river flooded during last week’s storms.)
But still, sunset shortly after 4 PM! And several more weeks until Solstice!
My friend Waverly Fitzgerald wrote a beautiful piece about “waiting” in her last School of the Seasons newsletter. “Waiting” is the keynote of the Advent season, which began yesterday – for Pagans as well as Christians. Our friend Helen Farias, who died ten years ago, taught us to celebrate the Advent Sunwheel by gathering together each of the four Sun-Days before Solstice (Sun-Return). We light one new candle on the Advent wreath each week until all four are burning on the fourth Sunday. We read stories about the Sun, sing songs about the Sun and imbibe in special Yuletide drinks.
Last night (the fourth Sun-Day before Solstice), I wasn’t really quite prepared. I haven’t yet taken down the Harvest-tide decorations, and I haven’t pulled the Advent candleholder out of storage. I couldn’t find my book of Sun Stories. And yet . . . it was just perfect. Four tapers in four glass candleholders, simply arranged on a goldleaf platter, shining like the sun. Lights down low. Noah (age 20 months) on my lap. Craig and Tami sitting close by. We started, as we have for the last few years, by invoking the four directions, then reading “Giving Thanks” by Chief Jake Swamp, passing the children’s book from hand to hand, giving everyone a chance to read a page out loud. We sang “Here Comes the Sun,” offkey and giggling, then lit the Candle of the East in all solemnity. Next we should have read the story — one of our favorites is the northwest tale “Raven Steals the Light” — but we were all too tired and Noah was too wiggly. So we admired the candlelight and the shimmering gold platter, and toasted the return of the sun with Bailey’s Irish Cream in my mother’s tiny liqueur glasses.
It doesn’t take much to satisfy the soul.