Foggy Solstice Daybreak Sr. Raphaela

"Deep night, Dark night
     Night of the longest sigh..."
        --from the poem "Winter Solstice" by Mary Saracino

It was the breaking of the shortest day leading into the longest night, the night of the longest sigh--the winter solstice. The weather channel had declared for that morning “Beware of patches of dense fog.” After giggling to myself about the words I imagined a dim-witted fog bank might say, I settled into the kind of contemplative ambiance for prayer that perhaps only foggy mornings can provide. Wearing fog is like wearing a magical damp shroud in which I feel intimately and gently held in the present, yet I also experience the heartbeat and vibrations of a living, breathing, intertwined life in constant motion around me.

Strangely, I find each fog bank to be unique when experienced through a conscious intention, as if each bank is created out of a different energetic fabric. The denseness of each cloud diminishes my sense of sight, sound, and light differently than the last. The fog I was wearing this particular day had a quality of loose-fitting denseness, where light was able to struggle through to cast a brilliant but eerie glow--inciting a rather inviting anticipation for newness. I was torn between wanting to remain in the fog, soaking in the “cloud of unknowing” moment that enveloped me, and moving toward the invitation of the light beckoning to me through the shroud. Is it possible to offer myself to both in this moment? To both the what is and to what is just beyond my perception? I sighed.

I read in a neuropsychology article that a body experiencing anxiety resets its nervous system through experiencing deep sighs. Of course, this drew my attention toward trying to capture such moments throughout my day when I involuntarily sighed as a way of regaining my balance. I have caught a few of my own, but mostly I have become aware of this human phenomenon in those around me. I have given myself to sighing with them in those moments instead. Through my cumulus-nimbus lectio contemplation I emerged wondering if the night of the longest sigh could have been the calming instrument of Mary’s advent anticipation. If the light struggling through the loose-density fog fabric offered her both comfort and delightful contemplation of newness of life? I just sighed again.




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