The solstice. For me, more than the day that the calendar year changes, the moment when we finally begin adding slivers of daylight feels like a turning point, one that I mark with hope and reflection in a moment of darkness and busyness.
What this year has looked like for me: Finding my footing. Coming to terms with being outside an institution. Celebrating the freedom of being outside an institution. Working toward gathering community in a meaningful way (that’s you all). Learning about and reveling in ecology and mycology. Writing.
I’m proud of the writing, and as the year draws to a close, I want to celebrate that. I’m proud that I have a another (mini-)book coming out next year. I’ve got a third well on its way, and it tackles entirely new-to-me fields of knowledge. I have five book chapters in the pipeline with various collections (each of which represents an enormous undertaking by the editors, who should also be super proud!).
I take the time to say all that because I think it can be hard to celebrate our own successes. Academia tends to make us prone to be self-effacing or over-aggrandizing, neither of which really feel like meaningful acknowledgements of the work we do, both seen and unseen. As I reflect on the year, I notice those accomplishments with gratitude.
And now, as the darkness begins shifting to light, it is also a moment to look ahead and consider where we will put our energy and focus. I invite you to consider these two images, part of a stunning tarot deck created by the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics at Arizona State University.
(Thank you to Inkcap friend Liz Grumbach for inviting me to use and share these cards. The whole deck is such a gift—one that I share with you and invite you to reflect on in this season of darkness and possibility.)
First, the Seed. What powerful potential is waiting beneath the surface, like the seedling bursting through the roadway? What might it disrupt? What new life might it bring?
And second, Inner Worlds. The signs of fatigue are there in the redness and the circles, but notice the seedling reflected in the mind’s eye. Notice the galaxies. What inner worlds does your eye hold? Where will they take you?
May we all make space in the year ahead for the tiniest seedlings and most expansive galaxies of our thoughts, our hopes, and our care.
With warmth and gratitude,