Dreams in the Dark of December

Early December snowfall in Kimberling City, Missouri

In this gelid month of December there is a stillness in the Ozarks woods that is beyond ordinary silence.

I am home here in the darkness, among the trees where the stillness reigns long after midnight when dawn is not even a promise in the eastern sky

This is when my heart fills with stars as I gaze skyward, and when the moon paints with shadows that flex and contract, stretch and shift like fluid inkblots on slick paper.

Now, in this December reverie, among the green pines and the cedars, there are the skewed geometries of the leafless trees, the hardwoods that shed their leaves in the Fall.  They are skeletal reminders of winter, so stripped of summer glory, they stand as reminders of the fragility of life, the cycles of death and rebirth inherited by all matter in the universe.

Change, change, change.

And, I am reminded once again why I spend so much of my life in the outdoors.  For this is where I am most at home in the realm of waking dreams.

There are many places where I have gone and found solitude and serenity: the high deserts of California, the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana.  I am comfortable living in a tent alongside a trout stream, or on the mighty rivers of the Boulder, the Gallatin, the Yellowstone in Big Sky country, or along the Cache de la Poudre, in Colorado, the many stretches of the White River in Arkansas and Missouri.

Yes, there is a frigid whisper of winter in my ears on such a December night.  But, I am warm in my hunting jacket, my thermal socks and Gortex boots.  The snows have not flocked the hills and the valley, but all of this woodland will be buried in a white blanket sometime soon.

The raccoons and squirrels are sleeping in their winter dens with their December dreams.

I feel their somnolent presence even so, as if I can actually hear their shallow breathing in the hearts of trees.

I realize as I listen in the silence and feel the silvery energy of distant stars, that civilization is an artificial imposition on man’s soul.  We must wear the trappings of the civilized world if we are to survive governments and business bureaucracies and we must fight against stress in the offices and marketplaces of the world.

Yet, out here, in these December woods, with its reverent solemnity, there is a peacefulness beyond rational comprehension.

Here, we are just another small part of the universe, our bodies and minds communicating on several levels with all that exists, from earth to the most distant and invisible galaxy.

Dark energy flows through us and, though we all speak in different tongues, our dreams are on a different plane, in another dimension beyond the consciousness we employ to deal with the civilized kingdom where tyrants reign on every level of society.

So, I dream in this December silence.  I dream of distances without measurement, of simple pleasures with a loving family, and the Christmas season to come when the collective mind of civilization shifts to a different wavelength and carols float on the wind, joyous and full of remembrance of a small child in a manger with a great star shining down from the velvet satin of the dark sky.

I am full and at peace with the world I inhabit and grateful that all I see and hear and touch is perfect.

The prayer on my lips is one of deep gratitude.

Jory Sherman is author of the powerful and beautiful Hills of Eden. Click here to read more about the book or purchase direct from Amazon.

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  • Sara Marie Hogg

    Your description is beautiful, as usual, Jory.

  • I hear Stephen Woodfin sing your praise often, and now I know why. I love such literature, such willingness to find the word or phrase that challenges Nature itself in the serenity and unabashed intimacy it offers for the taking.

  • Jiji

    Struck the right notes again.

  • Wonderful story. You make a place come alive with your words.

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