At 21 minutes past 11 on Saturday night, the tipping moment came when our (us southerners') half of the sphere we live on began rolling into shadow. I can't quite get the science of equinox or the big picture visuals, but I do know that days feel quieter, more sombre, even though we are surely only edging our way into the dark by degrees.
Over the past week my own world has likewise dipped gently on its axis. I've felt curiously in a shadow-land, and have been feeling my way into corners where light is dimmed, and shapes are not familiar. The metaphor that's made most sense of this place is soil. I'm aware that most of our fellow flora allow their life to migrate down underground, and I'm wondering if winter's pull works similarly in us.
Ten days ago, and again two weeks prior, I took part in two ceremonies at two special sites where my sister Annie's ashes were poured (poured?!) into the soil. My unconscious is hard at work in dreams (including one where my own after-death bones were crushed) as I try to process this, existentially and emotionally. My conscious mind is wandering about, wondering how and where to articulate what this means for me, and for us. (We together diaried our shared journey through the final year of her life seven years ago. Surely there are words for this page of our story.)
Meanwhile, the darkness, and the deep dirt, have also become rich in meaning over these past days. A picture I keep returning to is the image of a fallen tree, which I passed by on a beach walk with two dear friends last weekend. It was a big tree; it had a wide-girthed, sturdy trunk. Its root system was beautiful - strong plump outward-reaching arms, some of which wound and interwound in a circular formation around its base, like a hug. Meanwhile the roots that went down, the ones designed to hold and nourish the tree, were thin and short - a spindly apology. I can't help thinking what a fine tree it would have looked when upright, with its fat roots bulging above the ground.
And so, in the middle of the night and adrift, I stopped tipping my chin up for air, but went down instead. What are my roots? What's going to hold me when the wind or the axe strikes hard? I can almost say I liked going down; being there with them.