A Winter Homecoming

Solstice fog at the farmhouse

“Returning to the rolling farmland and bare-boned woods of Lancaster every solstice is always strange for me after so long away. But this year it’s been especially odd; instead of snow, everything has been squelching mud and wet with rain.”

Foggy solstice

“After a few days, when I’ve gotten over the dislocated feeling of too many newly-built strip malls and too much horizon, I start to notice again all the little details of this landscape that shaped my childhood sense of the sacred.”

Solstice fog at the farmhouse

“The warm weather has meant days of softly intimate fog mingling among the bare trees and leaving its dew on everything. Whenever the constant noise and bright lights of family time get to be too overwhelming, I step outside to feel the misty breath of the land on my face.”

Solstice fog, barren landscape

“Tonight, we were up till 1 AM talking, lounging sprawled out on the couches in this old farmhouse where we’re staying. We had the front door open wide with just the screen door because the weather is so unseasonably warm and wet. I felt like I was back in college again, staying up late having deep conversations with good friends.”

Solstice fog, barren landscape

“I wish life could be like this more often, comfortable and real and important and in the present moment. Seems like we spend a lot of life filling our time up with things we think we ought to be doing and worries that we’re not doing enough, when really all most of us want is to feel connected like this…”

Traveling in rain

“…Or maybe it’s just me. (That’s the worry, isn’t it, I guess — that it is just me, and that this other busy life really is what everybody else wants.)”

Rain from the train

“I’m looking forward to the long train ride back to myself and my sense of home.”

Asleep on the train

“It’s funny how family can bring you back to yourself because they know you so well and for so long, they treat you as if you were always just the same…”

Sunrise from the train

“…which is exactly what can drive you out of yourself, too, after a while. Because of course, you’re not.”

Sunrise from the train

“What I want keeps changing.”

Sunrise from the train

“Sometimes, I feel like the world must be so impatient with me…”

Sunrise from the train

“…asking always, Am I precious to you? Is the memory of me a treasure that you draw out during an idle moment to examine — running your fingers along its edges, turning it in the light to watch the way its textures ripple and shift, how what it is and what it wants keeps changing?

sunrise-from-the-train_23808265969_o

Can you remember me in a moment of stillness, when you are safely alone with yourself and nearly whole again, and in that moment hold me in the palm of your hand, like a soft river stone or a tiny beast carved out of sweet-scented wood?

Good to be home!

Can you hold me in your heart this way without flinching?

Frost on the car door

Is this something that you practice, getting a little better each time?

Cu hugs!

Is this even something that you want?


All photos, excerpts from letters and journals by Alison Leigh Lilly ©2015

Alison Leigh Lilly
Alison Leigh Lilly nurtures the earth-rooted, sea-soaked, mist-and-mystic spiritual heritage of her Celtic ancestors, exploring themes of peace, poesis and wilderness through essays, articles, poetry and podcasting. You can learn more about her work here.

2 Comments

  1. melanie griffin
    Jan 4, 2016

    Lovely. All of it.

  2. Raven
    Jan 5, 2016

    That last line…oh gods. It punched me right in all the feels and thoughts as I’ve been struggling to decipher just what is I DO want instead of just doing what everyone else wants.

    Beautiful post and pictures. Thank you for sharing. <3

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