Friday, December 21, 2007

Solstice Henge

Today is the Winter Solstice. A day shrouded in mystery and heralded throughout the centuries for its sacredness. On this important day I would like to take the opportunity to shine a light…on my brother-in-law’s dishwasher.


He sent me this photo. Dish Henge, he calls it. Here is what he wrote with the photo: “Once a year, the sun shines through our laundry room window at just the right angle to completely illuminate our dishwasher (~16' away), and only our dishwasher. Dish Henge occurred this year on Sunday, Dec 16th, 3:30pm MST.”

My husband and I couldn’t stop laughing when we saw the photo. How strange! How silly!

Of course, I have to wonder, Is it a sign? I ruminate on what it could mean. Something like: Clean house! Or Illuminate your flatware! Certainly the same gods who were responsible for Stone Henge couldn’t have in mind anything as pedestrian as, “Run the dishwasher!” Or perhaps all those Druids got it wrong. Maybe their efforts to move all those rocks to create that calendar had been the result of a complete cosmic misunderstanding, the sun gods merely trying to tell them to take out the garbage or invent the trash-compactor.

A similar phenomenon occurs at our house in the spring and fall. Light-Henge. For several days, the sunlight catches our hall light in just the right way that it casts rainbows all around the first floor. Whenever this happens, I think it’s a good sign. My boys agree and always come running to get me when the lamp is “doing the rainbow thing.” We imagine out loud what good fortune it imparts: I’m finally going to get a ferret! I’m finally going to get my Spider Amp! Someone else might finally clean up the kitchen!

I think the Universe, God, whatever you prefer to call your divine entity, if you choose to believe in one, gives us all little signs every day. Signs that things are going to get better—or worse. Signs that give us little hints of what they have in mind, like the time right before I got pregnant with my twins when I cracked open an egg with two yolks.

My husband says the only sign Dish-Henge and Lamp-Henge impart is that the sun has reached the same degree of declination on it path along the ecliptic as it has in every year in the past history of the earth and sun and all the rest of us are just a bunch of Froot Loops for thinking otherwise.

He’s always been the romantic one.

I like to think these signs are maybe just a little bit more. Maybe they are a communication with a higher spirit and I think on this day, this Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, the day with the most hours of darkness, we should take some time to think of what it all means. The Winter Solstice has indicated rebirth throughout the ages. It symbolizes a moment when hope springs eternal. A time, steeped in ritual, of the victory of light over darkness.

We should take advantage of this time, this opportunity. We should perhaps see these strange light phenomena as a way for us city folk to reconnect with the ancient. We should think of this day as a new beginning, and take a moment to look inward. To shine a light where one is not usually shone, to explore our hearts, our souls or maybe, well, more probably, just the interior of our appliances.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Wildest Christmas Wish Ever

People are confiding their wildest wishes and dreams to me. These wistful secrets cram my website inbox and what tales they tell! No, I haven’t taken a side job as a Fairy God-Mother. It’s because I’m running a Wildest Wish contest on my website (www.kimstrickland.com) as part of an AuthorBuzz web-promotion for my novel, Wish Club. Giving away five copies of the book was a requirement for participating in the ad campaign. Turning it into a wish contest was my idea of a good marketing tie-in for a book that’s about making wishes come true.

This morning I sat staring at the jam-packed inbox on my computer screen. It thrilled me that so many people had taken the time to enter, but it simultaneously exhausted me as well. The task seemed insurmountable, but I had to begin. I started reading, thinking, I’ll just take it a few at a time.

Immediately, I was hooked.

People confided their wildest wishes. I was amazed at how open and honest they were. (And just in case you’re staying tuned out of some sort of kinky, prurient interest, I can tell you right now you might as well tune out.) The wishes were not what I expected, nothing at all—and certainly nothing kinky or prurient. They were all so simple.

Most asked to win the lottery or had other, similar money-themed dreams. Others struck a strong emotional chord and I found myself in tears after the fourth or fifth one. Hopelessly addicted now, I sat in my chair until I’d read every single one.

My tears didn’t come from pity. I want to make that point absolutely clear. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I didn’t feel compassion for those who seemed to be going through inordinately huge struggles. I did. I do. The reason I began to cry was because I’d had the audacity to think I’d been having a bad day.

I was in my grumpy place. My jet-lagged, exhausted, haven’t-started-my-Christmas-shopping, my-Christmas-Photo-Card-from-Exposures-came-back-blurry place.

It occurred to me as I read, so many people were wishing for things I take for granted. A family vacation every year. Being able to go out to eat and not worry about the cost. To see children they hadn’t seen in years. I was reminded, vividly, how truly blessed I am. Some wishes were heartbreaking—sight for a blind child, to get out of a wheelchair, to be able to trade places with a sibling with cancer. I don’t think I’ll be capable of having a bad day again.

My wish is that I did have a magic wand, one I could wave and make everyone’s happiness come true. I wish this year, just once, Santa could turn real and deliver wealth and health and happiness to everyone. I want to tell the contestants I wish I could send each one of them a copy of my book (but then I think I’d be wishing to win the lottery myself.) I want to tell those that don’t win, if they buy only one book this year, buy The Secret (or maybe Conversations with God.) (Of course, if they buy two books this year, they should buy The Secret and Wish Club!) Because as corny as it sounds, I really believe we all have the power to make our wishes come true.

I hope in some small way, by writing down a wish and mailing it to some strange (and I mean strange) author that maybe, just maybe, a few people have begun the process of making their dreams real. It’s Step One of The Secret. It’s the first step for the women in my book.

Soon, I’ll mail out copies of my book to the winners, but I’ve decided to keep my Wish Contest going. Award a book a month or something. It’s not much, I know, but until I get that magic wand, it seems like it’s the least I can do, and it’s the best way I know to consistantly remind myself to count my many blessings.