On Wednesday, I went for a walk with a friend who, during COVID, became slightly estranged due to a misunderstanding. We’ve been close friends for years now, the kind of friend you really talk to. She is kind, smart, humble, and interesting. We have always had mutual love and admiration for each other, so this problem pained us both.
I was nervous to reconnect with her. We hadn’t spoken in several weeks, and I wasn’t sure how the discussion would go. I still had some hurt—she surely did too. She thought I was mad and judging her; I thought she didn’t reach out to me because she was angry.
As we entered the trail, two large hawks swooped down, talons intertwined. They screeched and dropped right in front of us, curving up just before hitting the ground. The underside of their wings flashed brown and white. “Did you see that?” I said. “Those two hawks were fighting!”
We stopped and spotted one of them sitting high above us, alone on a branch. My friend stood, face skyward, and said, “Were they fighting or mating?” I paused. I’d assumed they were angry, but perhaps they weren’t. We started walking and talking, and for five miles, we slowly reconnected.
As I sat down to write this, two hummingbirds outside of my bedroom window completed this exact same dance. They twirled around each other, falling fast before lifting again. This time, I didn’t assume they were angry with each other. Rather, I imagined that they were doing that difficult task of creating something new, a deeper connection, a new beginning.
Today is December 21st, the winter solstice. It’s the darkest day of the year and for me, the most beautiful. Yes, there is deep beauty in darkness. There is wisdom there too. I have long associated with Persephone, the queen goddess who is cast into the underworld every autumn. For half the year, she stays underground, only to emerge in the spring bringing her warmth and bounty.
I believe that the underworld can be a place of learning and beauty. If we stop fighting the darkness, it will show us its teachings. P.S. Persephone is a poem I wrote recently from the perspective of my favorite queen goddess. I hope you enjoy it.
You know my story.
Abducted to the underworld,
offered pomegranate seeds. Yes,
I ate them. What else was I to do?
My mother, in her rage,
made soils barren, skies bleak.
My father tried to bring me back
but I only come spring through fall.
People talk about us.
My parents, my abduction,
me as innocent pawn.
But they forget:
I am the power.
I alone bring Spring.
My return from the dark
brings the fruit.
I love going dark and cold.
When I’m there,
I don’t miss the sun.
Dog Medicine has had the huge honor of winning the Nautilus Book Award. It received a silver in the Psychology category.
This feels extra special because these awards are given for “exceptional literary contributions to spiritual growth, conscious living and green values, high-level wellness, responsible leadership and positive social change.”