You come to a place of understanding—you are in the midst of your own eclipse.
In A Short Philosophy of Birds, Philippe Dubois and Elise Rousseau tell of the vulnerable moulting phase of ducks as they experience an ‘eclipse’ of plumage. They are grounded, paused, waiting for new growth until they can fly again.
Animals do not think about the stages and transitions of their lives, they do not ruminate on the past or feel regret, instead relying on their instinctual understanding of what is happening now, only now. In eclipse, the only thing required of them is patience and self-care.
Humans have a tendency to resist eclipse. We must not stop, we must work, we must play, we must remember, we must plan, we must post on Instagram.
‘If we are to be reborn successfully, we need to understand how to let
something within us die.’
(Chapter 1: Embracing Our Vulnerability)
You consider the things you must allow to die—
—Certain relationships, too wounded or complicated to heal.
—Your identity: university lecturer, respected, classes filled with questioning, challenge, debate, enlightenment.
—Your home: tumble-down cottage, a deep village burrow with morning horses clopping you awake.
—The control you thought you had; this was only ever an illusion.
And so you wait for the feathers of your past life to shed, resolving to let them fall without regret or recrimination.
Patience. Care. The happening of only now.
You can feel the downy new feathers waiting to emerge. They are tender, they are eager, they yearn for the soar and sweep of the sky, but they know to wait for their time.
Winter is serving its purpose.
And with the warmth of spring, eclipse will turn to flight.