Monterey Bay, Monterey, California


The sun came up, and the birds and squirrels have been acting as nothing happened. Like a dream, this morning several symbols crossed my mind. I flashed on the image of a snake shedding its skin, a symbol of renewal, of course. I’m sure skin shedding is a painful practice, but it must also feel good to shake off that useless, restrictive deadness. And the new skin would be tender at first, so it’s going to take time to get used to it.

Also circling my mind is an image of the Madonna with her arms crossed over her heart and a vase of white lilies. I’m not sure what it means, but maybe it has something to do with redemption and grace.

I can’t help but reflect on the timing of all this: a new year, the winter solstice, and the approach of spring. It feels like an awakening, like a bear out of hibernation, hungry and focused, a symbol of courage and strength. Maybe that’s the most potent image, a fresh morning, taking on new challenges in broad daylight, where hiding is not an option. Once our mind awakens to a new understanding, we can’t forget it.