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Strange to think that half the country can be blanketed in snow without winter having yet arrived. Frost has chased away the last of summer, the winds have picked up, and the trees are naked against a gray sky, yet these are but the remnants of a fading autumn. We know that winter has finally come when the sun races across the icy sky so quickly that the earth has no time to warm before night has fallen. The longest night of the year-- Ah, this is the advent of winter, in all its beautiful splendor, terrible mystery, and harsh grace.

It's my favorite time of year, this cold night of seemingly endless darkness. This night is so dark that we cannot see what lies beyond the flicker of the candle flame. It reminds me that we do not, can not, should not comprehend the vastness and wonder of this life. We revel so proudly in our enlightened state, illuminated by our own brilliance, our ignorance on display like cheap lights strung over a closed door. Yet the wise among us know that so much remains unseen behind that door.

I love gazing up into the endless night, knowing that my world does not end with my perceptions of what that world is. I am comforted by the fact that I am small and insignificant in the great arc of time, that nothing is really contingent on my ability to hold it all together or to contribute some grand plan that will guarantee the perpetuation of life as we have constructed it.

I love standing in the cold, caressed by the inky blue-black, listening to the wind sigh through the bare branches, experiencing the ever-deep vastness that is this fathomless night of stars. I caught but a glimpse of solstice light and warmth today, and now it seems so desolate, just me in the darkness. Yet I hear a humming, a pulsing, and I know that I am witnessing and participating in the glory that is life.

It's dark and cold, ominous and empty, overwhelming...

It's wonderful...

 

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