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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Prayer at the Dark of the Year

This time of year, I love to “walk the sun down”—that is, to take a walk just as the sun is setting. I love watching the day’s last light swim through bare branches of trees in shades of rose and lavender. Then the sky goes dark and stars become visible. Lights come on in my neighbors’ windows. Something rustles in the shadows of shrubbery—a sparrow settling onto her nest? a rabbit taking cover? Sometimes the dark feels magical. 

Of course, not all darkness is cozy, and particularly during the holiday season, darkness can be a place of loneliness and heartache. Sometimes darkness is not something we can choose to move through quickly. Sometimes it is thrust upon us and we experience it as a period of seemingly endless fear or ferocious pain. Yet even in that kind of darkness, treasures can be found. A brush of kindness. A flutter of hope. A glimmer of light. 

In the deep darkness of this week, as we ponder our own stories either in conversation with others or in solitary reflection, may we each find some treasure, no matter how small or fragile. And may we thus be reminded again that God is with us.  


      The dark, a wonder. The deep. A wonder
      the wait, sitting in silence, watching each breath. 
      Wind, a wonder, winding in and out. And tonight,
      whatever aligned the planets just after sunset.

      All flesh, a wonder. The bitter cramp of wounds.
      The fitful itch of scars where skin pulls tight.
      A habit amended, a wonder. The reach of inner space.
      The drift of time. The marble stance of death.

      Flight, a wonder, the open gates of earth, 
      a childhood friend descending from the stars. 
      A wonder, fire contained in succotash or flaming in a grate. 
      Greens wound into the comfort of a wreath. 

I, a wonder. Whoever God. Whatever shakes 
down snow. A wonder, you. The long night’s 
stories. The dark. The deep. The wait.

Angier Brock © 2011

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