Being connected to the divine and connected to nature does not always mean time spent under the sun on a pleasantly warm day. Nor does it always mean making careful plans for an outing of some kind, or even an outdoor ritual.
Sometimes it means being awakened at 3:00 a.m. by a voice calling from within the winds howling outside the bedroom window with the force of a tropical storm, then trying to ignore the voice, hiding beneath a pillow, hoping to go back to sleep under the warm bed covers.
As a matter of fact, I just tried that, and it did not work. The voice insisted on being heard, and my spirit insisted on responding. The worker from afar came calling, and I answered her call. Once I was committed to a night-time adventure, I no longer felt sleepy, and the 32-degree outdoor temperature did not seem so daunting.
As I opened the door and stepped into the darkness, I again heard the voice of the divine, and I was thrilled by the opportunity for communion with the Goddess and with the night. I stood for a moment, face turned to the sky, making eye contact with the moon and the stars where they hung nestled in the black velvet sky. Their shimmering beauty lent power to the thought that they, too, were answering the call to dance with the winds.
I filled my lungs with the refreshingly crisp night air and then followed the moonlight down the steps and into the yard.
The wind was dancing through the night in a sometimes continuous, sometimes gusting, remembrance of the goddesses and gods in all their forms. The tall white pine, the locust, and the juniper trees were swaying to and fro, and the dry blades of wintering-over lemongrass in the corner of the yard sang a rustling undersong as the wind whipped through.
The cold air embraced me, and I joined in the dance, spinning joyfully under the light of the moon. Closing my eyes, I immersed myself in the richness of the experience, beglamoured by the beauty of a grand ballroom that is older and larger than time.
On feet that often stumble in everyday life, I danced without effort, spinning and turning, momentarily clasping hands with the stars and the wind as I moved from one to another. Images flitted through my mind: Sky cotillion. Ethereal dance partners. Laughing. Breathing in the light. Serious. Breathing in the winds of remembering. Steadfast. Breathing out the winds of change.
Eventually, I left the grand ball, tired, content, and once again in search of my warm bed. I have no idea how much time had passed while I was outdoors, but fewer than 10 minutes had gone by on my bedside timekeeper.
I could have stayed in bed. I could have stayed indoors. I could have ignored the voice that called to me and passed a quiet, restful night asleep in flannel sheets. If I had, everything would have been fine. After all, this is the dark time of year that is meant for introspection, a time of inward focus and growth. But sometimes, turning inward does not mean being still.