Betwixt and Between
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
The spaces in between are places to rest, to be still, and to be silent. The space in between words and lines breathes beauty and depth into poetry and it is the spaces in between notes and chords that give music rhythm and resonance. Negative space in art and design can make subject and object more evident, and the pause within touch makes us feel more alive. The spaces in between engage our senses and emotions, connecting directly to our hearts and souls to deepen our experience of life.
December, for me, is the liminal space in between all that happened in 2020 and dreams of 2021, a threshold where we’re at, or on both sides of, one thing and the next. We are taking a break from retreats at Springfield, so for us December is a month in between endings and beginnings, a time between what was and what is to come. We’re letting go of the known past, and we’re resting.
The garden is in between seasons too. We've all but finished harvesting the last of our winter crops as our cauli’s, broccoli and carrots go to seed, storing their energy for next year’s planting. Summer crops are in but haven’t taken off yet as the soil is just beginning to warm.
This sense of stopping to rest and pause feels like a time for daydreaming. In this place of transition we’re consciously inviting in a time of waiting, and a state of not knowing. We’re embracing uncertainty as creative potential.
Liminal space is also a sacred space. In Richard Rohr’s words it is: “where we are betwixt and between the familiar and the completely unknown. There alone is our old world left behind, while we are not yet sure of the new existence. That’s a good space where genuine newness can begin.” It is where old world falls apart, and the new is revealed. Being in the creative space within disruption and uncertainty can often be uncomfortable and inconvenient. Or, perhaps it could be if it wasn't for the delicious languid days of an Australian summer - especially an unusually wet one. So, we’re heading to the coast for a spell, and then you’ll find us lolling about reading, flopping into the pool to cool down, and enjoying unhurried days with friends and family.
December was, in fact, originally the tenth month of the year, back in 750 bc when the Roman Calendar finished in December and began in March. The days between December and March were not included as part of any month! I wonder if we can call that idea back into play? One thing we do know for sure is that we (you and us) deserve a break, to pause, to catch our breath to do what we need to do so that we can begin 2021 refreshed and restored.
Our December will be quiet and slow, so I’ll wish you farewell with the words of the wonderful poet Kirli Saunders, a dear friend of Springfield, whom we look forward to welcoming back in March.
make time to be still.
Lie in fields of flowers
and hear their petals hum
let their rhythm become yours
and bloom as they do,
in the places people least expect.
Know your roots
and grow from them,
climb ever to the sun
and have the shadows
fall behind you.*
from Kirli Saunders, Kindred
*After the common proverb ‘Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you’.