Days Like These, by Molly M. Remer

Sometimes the best rituals
are those we cannot plan,
requiring only pine needles and wind,
open eyes
and a long, slow-sinking sun
settling gently into shadows.
Sometimes the best magic
of all is made with
what is exactly right now,
bluestem grass and gray feathers,
raccoon footsteps
between the trees,
laughter and joined hands,
a faith in the cycles of retreat
and renewal.
This is what we are here for,
days like these.

One crow behind the house greeted me on a frosty solstice morning. Five more slid across the road in front of me as I reluctantly left home to go to the dentist. A red-shouldered hawk glided across the road next and I spotted a kestrel perched on a wire. I drove and sang, memories of our bright candles and solstice spiral the night before behind my eyes, sun bread left rising golden on the counter at home. The dentist has devised a pulley system to hang bird feeders by each of his second story windows and I watch house finches collect sunflower seeds as I lie in the chair. I spot a vulture circling in the distance slow and graceful above the trees. The sky is blue. When I leave the office, I hear a crow’s voice call from across the street and as I drive back home to my family and our winter holiday celebrations, another red-shouldered hawk swoops in front of me, while a red-tailed hawk sits solemnly in a tree by the field, watching the ground. I’m amazed how birds, so unbound, tether me so reliably to the magic of place, to being present with the ensouled and singing world as I move within it and I am grateful.

In the late afternoon on the solstice, my family and I carry the sun bread we have made out to the field by our studio. We join hands and sing and then toss small bits of our golden bread to the sun, calling out our wishes for the year to come and offering our thanks to the spinning world we walk on, beneath this burning sun.

The kids go inside and my husband, Mark, and I walk down the road to finish watching the sun set. It sinks low and slow behind the bare oak trees, growing larger and redder as it goes. It seems to be one of the most drawn out sunsets of this year and we sit down in the frost-crisped dittany by the side of the road, our backs against the oak trees, watching. I turn to look at Mark smiling and say: this is what I am here for, days like these.

I decided to take social media break as 2021 drew to a close, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, something I’ve needed to do for a long time, and yet, something I’ve always talked myself out of. I need this for our business, I think. It is part of my work. How else will I reach people? I will just post a few more things. While, inside, the hunger to really listen, to de-fragment my mind and re-collect my soul continued to build to a peak of fervency and desire. The blessing and the curse of social media is that everything is in one place. Convenient, yes. Holds you hostage, also yes. Exposes you to more information than you can reasonably hold and process, also yes. The first day of my break, I was amazed how often I was tempted to cheat, how many ways I came up with to sneak around the limit and to just do one little thing anyway. I was also surprised to discover how much extra space there is in my mind and how liberating it is to step away from the clamor of so many other voices. As Cal Newport explains, we all need time each day when we are outside of the influence of other minds. And, I was surprised by how invisible I felt, how unseen and unheard. As the days passed, I felt it though, my scattered pieces coming home. I knew that social media was affecting my focus and my brain functioning, could feel it fragmenting my thoughts, and making my focus and attention jumpy and scattered. In these days of silence, something began to heal inside. I feel a bit invisible, yes, but I also feel whole. I feel like I am coming back online, to my own life.

What was intended only as a ten day break over the winter solstice, extended through the first month of new year and while I’m not saying I’m never going back, I find I am in no rush to re-engage, certainly not in the way I had before.

In the reclaimed attentional space within, I discovered the soulsong of a new book walking up to me, hands extended and eyes wide.

We walk again under long wings of twilight, last vestiges of day sinking purple and mauve into the horizon. Somehow we end up talking about cryptocurrency and NFTs.

Give me dirt and give me stars, I say, as our feet crunch across the brown gravel, our shoulders hunched slightly against the wind. Give me life, right here, where it is.

As we come back up our driveway, we spot a doe at the compost pile, she watches us silently as we turn to make one more lap down the dusky gravel road.

Molly Remer, MSW, D.Min, is a priestess facilitating women’s circles, seasonal rituals, and family ceremonies in central Missouri. Molly and her husband Mark co-create Story Goddesses at Brigid’s Grove. Molly is the author of nine books, including Walking with Persephone, Whole and HolyWomanrunes, and the Goddess Devotional. She is the creator of the devotional experience #30DaysofGoddess and she loves savoring small magic and everyday enchantment.

Note: this essay is excerpted in part from a book in progress, tentatively titled Walking with the Goddess.



Categories: Earth-based spirituality, Goddess Spirituality, holiday, Ritual, Sacred Space, Spirituality, Women's Spirituality

7 replies

  1. Thank you for this beautiful post. I love the idea of coming back online to yourself. I have taken occasional sabbaths from the internet, and have always found them restorative. I look forward to your book.

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  2. Lovely post. I find social media quite boring so aside from posting little meditations on FB and following FAR I have little to do with it – However I can easily spend too much time researching, especially this time of year when I am so housebound because of weather and physical limitations – so I think the overall picture is the same.

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  3. Lovely day! I, too, find the social media boring. I’ve closed my Facebook account because there were lots of people posting there that said they were my friends. These were people I’d never heard of and didn’t know. I think the social media are all filled with disinformation and gossip. Your post tells us you’ve been making some wise decisions about your life. Yes, we need both dirt and stars. Brava! And bright blessings!

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    • Thank you for this Molly. It was such a powerful reminder for me to be “outside of the influence of other minds” and that “sometimes the best rituals are those we cannot plan.” I wholeheartedly agree! At times I have found myself following certain traditions (including secular ones such posting to social media!) yet not feeling the heart and soul of why I do it… and at other times, when I align with the rhythms and energy of Mama Earth, I feel pulled to celebrate through ritual on the spot.

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    • Interesting that you closed your account Barbara because I’ve considered doing the same – the friends thing I ignore completely! The only thing that keeps me posting is that I like to take pictures of nature and write little meditative or informational posts – I really do this mostly for myself – to remind me that I am visible to me. I’m starting to feel invisible – Life is getting harder

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  4. AS usual, Molly, a beautiful post about an important issue that most of us share. If not being online means that you will be writing more beautiful poetry and prose, YAY! I’m glad to hear it.

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  5. Great post Molly, Just reading this post has me looking forward to your next book. I understand the turning off social media for a time. I have always been aware of my time on social media and the internet in general. I keep several blogs and read several, which is where I can hit a computer spiral where I click link after link from one blog or more and realize hours have gone by. A few years ago I cut back on the blogs I followed and read and my own blog posting are weekly at best. I just remind myself the internet and social media are a tool to be used sparingly.

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