Reflections from a Snow Queen

Snow Queen hands

On a chilly December day which seemed to birth the beginning of the new season, I had the privilege to be Snow Queen. As I sat festooned in a tent under sparkling icicles and blue twinkly lights, I sat in suspension waiting for the little ones, medium sized ones, and big ones to arrive. I sang my wintry song that began like this: “Deep down in the belly of the night, dream sweet winter dreams . . .”* and watched the little footsteps through the billows of tulle coming my way along the wood chip path. They would approach the tent, some of them a little apprehensive at first, and then they would gently enter the snowy realm.

Then their eyes would meet mine. They would listen deeply and attentively, sacredly even, to the words I shared with them. Words about forests and hearts and flames and crystals and warmth in the shimmering snow. They stopped. They truly seemed to partake in what John O’Donohue calls “slowtime”. That magical space where time stops and we get to enter the place of wonder. I watched as children from two to ten paused for just a few moments to receive the gift of song, verse, and clear shining crystal. And they held the gifts so well.

I believe the greatest gift I received in the little woods that day was seeing the deep wonder in each child’s eyes, every one of them- the deep wells of their souls opening up during a time of wonder. I ceased to be “Gina”, and got to embody an archetype- a season of slowing and mystery, the season of winter. Like the crystals I held in my hand and gave to each one, I will cherish this, too, in my heart.

*song written by Becky Reardon

Advertisements

Slow Food for Thought

 

blossoms

(beautiful art by Loren Webster)

 

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

– John O’Donohue

“Slow time” is a pair of words I like to linger within, when I can remember to slow down long enough to do so. It reminds me of a Japanese phrase- “mono no aware”- the heightened, yet transient ahh-ness of things. What comes to mind right away when I think about this are lifecycle moments: a peony at its peak, ready to drip its plethora of petals, a moist forest carpeted with the plums and browns of decaying leaves just before the snows come in, or a young fawn on spindly legs still speckled with the soft signs of just being born. I remember having just discovered the term “mono no aware” on a hot summer day in Palm Springs, California. Looking up at the sky for the first time with this new awareness gave me such a fresh perspective. It brought me immediately into a place of gladness, presence, and the present. How long would the sky remain that shade of blue? When would that cloud formation change into a new form? I didn’t know, but in that moment, I granted myself the time to appreciate every second before me- each tinge of perfection and change in its own current and unique state. I had somehow entered into “slow time”.