2018 Winter Solstice Letter
Solstice. The Owen's Valley is cold and quiet. The sun will set at 4:47pm this afternoon, but it will already sink behind the crest of the mighty Sierra Nevada Mountains around 3:30pm and quicken the pace of those still venturing about on the trail. The cold has a way of coming on fast once that sun is gone.

All of our guides are done with their trips for this year and home with their loved ones now, the last three programs having just concluded last month in Death Valley. A couple of days ago, we submitted the final of three permits for operating our 2019 programs. Winter admin stuff. Insurance renewals are looming and year-end financials are next as we prepare for our annual board meeting in January.
Passing the mantle
As of January 1, Joseph will officially be claiming his freedom from the office. At sixty-five, after 16 years of acting as the school's executive director, he is now moving into more spaciousness and independence, with less time on the screen and more time in the field starting next year.
This is a big transition, not just for the school, but also for us personally. As we lean into what these changing roles evoke individually and in our relationship, we cannot help but feel so deeply grateful for the blessings of this love that has ushered us across so much rich terrain in the last decade and a half, from loving long distance to raising a boy into manhood, through cancer treatment and recovery, and over six busy years of stewarding the school as co-directors.

Part of our simple solstice prayers this year will be for the grace of this love to continue, and to help us receive the gifts of this next chapter of our lives.
What is ready to die away for you on this night?
I couldn't help but think of Steven Foster today, who told us that when we sat in purpose circle during the last night vigil of a vision fast, to begin by facing the west, as the sun was setting.

To do the work that needs to be done so we can make it good with our lives and our god can take many hours in fertile darkness. At some point during the night though, while the stars move ever so slowly across the horizon, we have to find the courage to die to the old for good and step into the unknown of the in-between. Here we are steeping in the liminal, timeless time, until we feel the authentic and unmistakeable beckoning of a new becoming pull us toward a new life.

Only then it is time to turn to the east and greet the new day. Once turned, we were taught, there was no looking back!
What wants to be dying away on this night? What has been outgrown, and become a burden to maintain because it is no longer yours to carry? Is there something asking to be set free on this night, ready to go without the need to return on the dawn of the next day?

What is the new song in your heart that will give the sun reason to come back up over the horizon, and begin the long journey back toward spring, toward warming the earth, and germinating the seeds that lie waiting in the dark ground, dreaming of moving to the light?
Many call this the time of a great turning. In this liminal space, it seems it has never been more important to be present and current in the practice of our living and our dying. As any of you know, who've ever held a vigil through the night, it often seems to take endless hours, keen eyes skimming the horizon for the first signs of the new dawn, until the sun finally rises.

The simple truth is, for our own species, and in relationship to all sentient beings and the land that holds us all, the sun longs for us to sing it up as much as we need it to return.

Thank you for being part of this tribe with no borders. And for risking yourself for what you love.

With heart and soul -

Petra Lentz-Snow & Joseph Lazenka
School of Lost Borders / school@lostborders.org
P.O. Box 796, Big Pine, CA 93513