As the nights have become longer and the days shorter, we have all noticed the change in light. It might be that we feel more tired than other times of year, or perhaps a little more introspective and reflective. Our bodies are attuned to the changes in light and we have a "sense of light" as much as we have a sense of smell, sight, touch, taste and hearing. Some researchers, such as Dr. Michael J. Cohen, have highlighted "sense of light" amongst 52 other "natural survival senses" that all humans have. When activated, these senses can help lead us reconnect with the natural world, ourselves and others.
During the past few weeks of Forest Play, we've drawn attention to the changes in light and shared stories and inquiries about where we can find the light during the dark time of year. We've explored the forest and noticed that some places have more sun than others. We've seen how ice and water can capture and filter light. We've also noticed that trees like spruce, pine and fir are still able to gather the light of the sun- even in the depths of winter- and share it with us through their green needles. We take in some of that light when we drink our spruce tea and Christmas trees are traditionally brought into our homes to remind us that the green plants will come back and the light will return.
Within the forest, light can also be hidden, but coaxed out and shared. This happens when we burn wood in our wood stove and outdoor fire pit and also when we burn sap for candles. Using hand saws, we cut small tree cookies from dead wood and felt the exertion stoke the fire inside our bodies and bring heat to our toes and fingers. We collected sap from trees and watched as the sap extended the light and life of our matches. Providing we kept feeding the candle small amounts of new sap, it kept burning.
There is wisdom here for us too - each of us has a light we can share. Through kind words, laughter, play, stories, helpful actions and compassion for each other and nature, we share our light and in so doing move through darker days with support and hope.
May you and your family find light and joy over the holidays!
It is said that stories live on the wind and those who are aware and whose senses are alert, can catch the story that needs to be told in that moment.