Winter's End

As I drove to town this morning, the sun shone brightly. While the air outside of my car was cold, the bright rays of golden light warmed me as I traveled down the highway. As that radiant warmth played across my face and clothes, I found myself responding with both a sense of familiarity and one of foreignness. It was as though my soul - accustomed to darkness - was staring into the returning light, awakening from a deep stupor.

As I ponder this, I become aware of the profound accuracy of this description. As I consider my behavior and thought patterns over this and previous winters, I realize that this is a time of year my inner being plunges into a quiet darkness. This is not the unhealthy darkness of depression - though it seems to be closely related. Instead, it is a time for withdrawal and self-scrutiny. The darkness comes from intense introspection and a careful evaluation of my ideas and feelings that oft go unnoticed in the lighter part of the year.

On the first few bright days after winter's darkest, my dark and thoughtful soul faces the brilliant light again. This radiant inflow disrupts the trance of my self-examination. I awaken from my introspective slumber, blinking in the forgotten light. My focus begins to shift imperceptibly. This does not mean that the darkness or introspection disappears altogether. Only the overall tone of my mood changes. My continued self-scrutiny begins to occur at a level that is less deep.

In this way, my soul prepares for the change in seasons. My self-exploration becomes a more obvious precursor for the coming time of growth. My dark time of self-examination transforms into a time of the planning and preparation.