The New Year, the Desert Winter and the Promise of New Life

The shortest day of the year for us in the Northern Hemisphere is behind us. For those in the South, the longest day has passed. Here in the desert, the coldest few days of the year normally follow the Sun’s descent to its lowest elevation in the sky. From now on, each passing day will be about a minute longer than the previous one, and the sun a little higher on the horizon. While it’s the coldest outside, the desert life senses that things are about to change, and that they best hurry up before the summer heat is back again. The mama hummingbird is busy over at my feeder, I imagine she is already getting ready to lay eggs. The buds on some plants start to become swollen; while some other flora already display fresh, green growth. The desert winter demands and receives my reverence, as the deceivingly cold yet sunny days go by.

In this moment, I align myself with the natural inhabitants of this land. Meditating upon the 4 of Swords that I pulled today, I take this last day of the year to contemplate and heal; knowing that this is a pregnant pause. Soon I will be warming up with the sun, and the busyness of life will be full blown. But this is a sacred moment of the desert winter. I bow to it, and to the inescapably difficult lessons of 2020. I bow to the Presence that is always there, unmoved by any personal disappointments or shortcomings. I know that in 2021, there will be impossibly hot summers to endure. But—don’t you worry, heart o’ mine—there will be a full Spring to flourish and prepare. But it’s still winter. Let’s lie half-dormant while dreaming about a new branch here, a new leaf there, and also a lovely flower over there. Amidst this sacred, dreamy slumber, I’ll stay a little while. New year blessings to you.