If there is a relationship between spiritual aridity and winter, it must certainly be the cold. And the ice. Ice, that brims the ditches and with each sleeted rainfall threatens to overrun the roads, has taken up residence in my soul.
To pray, to meditate, even to recite the hours of the liturgy requires a diligence that locks my jaw and shutters my eyes. These periods of darkness fill me with a nostalgia for the delight I once took in prayer. I am reduced to living moment by moment, hoping that in so doing I am actually in God's presence; choosing to believe this is so, because not to believe would be more than I can bear.
I'd like to believe that this is the Dark Night of the Soul of which John of the Cross speaks so eloquently -- the prelude to divine union -- rather than the acedia of which the desert fathers warned us, the deadly sin of sloth that creeps without warning into our lives. I remember that ice turns luminous when held to the light. I lift my iced-soul to God.
- Beryl Singleton Bissell
- Beryl is the author of The Scent of God: A Memoir published by Counterpoint NY in 2006 and A View of the Lake published by Lake Superior Port Cities Inc. in 2001. She’s been living on Lake Superior for seventeen wonderful years, and spent 10 years writing two popular columns for the Cook County News Herald: Newcomer Notes and Putting Down Roots. Beryl is past president of the Schroeder Area Historical Society and a long-time chair of its Oral History and Marketing committees. She is a past board member of the Violence Prevention Center in Grand Marais and committee member for the Grand Marais Art Colony’s first ever annual North Shore Reader and Writers Festival. She’s been published in the Sun Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, Lake Superior Magazine, and The Trenton Times and in the anthologies, Surviving Ophelia published by Perseus Publications in 2001 and The New Writer's Handbook, Vol. 2, published by Scarletta Press in 2008 and was named Best of Minnesota Writers by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She is currently working on her third memoir: the sequel to The Scent of God.