Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Holly and the Oak

The winter winds find me distracted and turning ever inward. And as the holidays snuck up from behind, I realized I was in desperate need of connecting. Not as in Facebook or holiday cards, but as in honest-to-goodness, face-to-face, heart-to-heart connecting.

Luckily, our solstice and Christmas holidays were filled with the warmth and light of family and friends. We gave less of our pockets this year, but more of ourselves. And as the sun rose again after the longest night, my thoughts started turning to the rewards of living with less. How out of necessity, stumbling in the dark, we manage to stub our toes on treasures we never knew were there.

Treasures are not only often hard to see but, unfortunately, fleeting. Ardie Rodale, matriach of the Rodale family, Rodale, Inc. and the Rodale Institute passed away just days before the solstice. As the dark overcame the light, she made her journey into the great unknown. She touched so many people in her lifetime, her firey spirit continues to glow within the heart of each of those souls.

It is easy to saint in our memories those who have passed. I'm sure Ardie was at times falable, grumpy, petty, scared, and otherwise just as human as I. And, though I spent a scant amount of time with her, Ardath Rodale managed to speak to my heart with her unguarded thoughts on life. Her simple, uncensored and incredibly positive words always felt real--bare and so honest as though they came from someone both naive and wise. May we all be so lucky to hold naivety and wisdom in equal parts.

The papa bear is terribly talented at finding trees with old bird nests nestled within their branches. This year will make the third nest that has graced our Yule tree in the eight years we've been married. May this home within our home bring us good luck for the year to come. And may the ceaseless turning of the wheel bring inspiration to us all. My new year's resolution: Keep my soul open to the path that feels right--whatever that may be.