Young branches heavy with snow, protected and nurtured, exposed just enough to feel the warmth of the sun. Community surrounding and encouraging them to grow, to reach, to become.
Winter’s chill, darkness of sleep and lazy shadows meandering through the forest bringing armor to the little ones.
My elders have long left this earth but I remember the community and when I see these young trees I too want to wrap them in snow and tuck them in for the night.
I want to protect them and keep them from making the same mistakes I made, embark well-meaning words of caution learned from life’s lessons. Don’t pay too much for a house, always save money, give when you have the chance. Always under bake chocolate chip cookies and keep plenty of sand on hand in the winter when the freezing rain washes the snow from your driveway and you are left with pure ice.
I will always be a mom, not just to my children and grand children but to everyone because I care. I will teach, and nurture, until my last breath is taken away and I leave this earth for good.
Unconditional love is easy when you encounter a smile or a light heart, or a grandchild. The love comes beaming at you, swirling, glowing. It’s easy to say that you’ve done the work, you’ve evolved, you can do this! All time stands in your heart and you know the sun will set, but not before you are ready.
It’s easy when the forest speaks to you and fairies puff their wings and you sing the birds songs. Mud and ice beneath your feet, the smell of emerging buds on trees and last year’s leaves, frozen. Not thoughts. No accomplishments. No confrontations or opinions. Just saplings and elders and deer tracks.
It’s easy when you come to nature in awe.
Like this sapling, I want to spread my little branches and hang my needles so they sway in the breeze and glisten with frozen rain. I want to grow and love and have lots of little saplings that have saplings before the sun sets low in the sky. Before I begin to rot and be fed to insects and be made home by forest animals. Before the woodpeckers come and bore holes in my well worn bark. It’s easy when you spend time with this sapling.
Today we embraced at sunset, this little sapling and I, casting long blue shadows in the snow.
I am but a tree beside the road. Placed atop a small mound, my lower trunk bends from the years of giving, of responding. My roots are not fully covered by the ground now frozen, my tips exposed.
I want some nice person to come by and cover my roots with rich soil, warm, cover me so that I will stay here by the side of the road. I want to stay and grow. I want to become like the tree across the road, big, old, wise, branches brown and strong. Leaves that turn bright orange or burnt red. Shade that cools and protects. I want to stay to become the tree across the road. Because I know I can.
But now I sit, roots exposed, cold. Wanting and wanting to be moved, or changed. Knowing that some day the change will come. Spring will be here. The ground will thaw.
I sit gazing through the window pane that separates me from the outdoors, the world. Hard glass, strong and clear filling me with clarity and devotion. Outside the world turns in a hectic rhythm.
When will my words fall upon thee?
Watching the sun set on the twinkling leaves, fluttering like wings of a sparrow. Winter wind blowing, puffing, twinkling, blowing. Darkness falls as I sit.
Blessed phone when will you ring?
Patience begins to wear thin on the small twigs that hold my leaves. But I will be strong! Hold tightly small twigs, to the fluttering desires that are my leaves. The desires that flutter as wings within my heart. Let not the wind blow these for they are my mission. And I will stand so full of life. My bark facing the winter chill. Hold will I to these precious leaves that bear witness of love.
For the cold winter’s bellow shall not take them from me today.
I invite life. When I invite life I choose to begin my journey home. When I invite life I am part of the invitation. LIFE is an invitation. It’s a great big homeopathic remedy for oneness. All I meet. All I experience. All of it is a remedy, an invitation to bring me to balance.
In balance I walk to oneness.
I choose life. Life is not stagnant. When I choose life, I choose to be dynamic. I choose to be ever present. When I choose life, I am not stuck in the past reflecting on some moment or experience. Choosing life I am not in the future, projecting a thought or planning a desired outcome. Outcomes are irrelevant. When I choose life, I choose to live.
The darkness of my fear and confusion overshadowing me, filling me with loss and defeat. Hopelessly I weep, crumpled to the floor calling out to whomever will bother to listen to my sad story, my confusion. Calling to you to help me.
Make me aware of your presence as you enter my room. Silky, warm glimmer of white and gold a speck, but then growing, expanding, to a beam, making me lift my gaze just a bit.
Make me aware of your presence as you move closer to me. Feeling the warmth of your body as it nears mine. Your strength, your determination, your focus, making me breathe just a little deeper and begin to lift my head as I realize now that I am not alone. I am not abandoned. There is hope.
Make me aware of your presence as you gently touch my shoulder and place your hand on my back. You are so close now. I can feel your breath. It makes me want to breathe. It makes me want to be here. To see what I need to see. To dive deep into my fears so that I can cast them away.
Make me aware of your presence as you reach under my knees and lift me. Your exhale strong and quick, your power melting me into your arms, I feel my body rise from the depths of my own hell. My muck. My mud of self-imposed torture.
Make me aware of your presence as you take your first stride. Your rhythm and harmony rocking me to a quiet, peaceful moment as we move from my darkness. The room fills with light, my thoughts much clearer now. My heart swelling with love as I feel your grace fall upon me.
Make me aware of your presence as we exit the room. Your body melting away as I begin to stand on my own. Your essence still with me as sparkles in my heart. Each one reminding me of the love and strength that I felt. Each one reminding me of the truth. There is no room. There is only Love.
It was New Year’s Eve and I was alone sitting on my sofa staring out the window at the white lights I strung up outside. The wind was blowing making them sway and twinkle more than usual. The neighborhood was quiet and and I was listening to soft music trying to figure out what this feeling was that I had. I knew it was familiar. I knew it was profound. I knew that it was more than once in my life that I felt it. I kept thinking back at times in my life when something was about to change like graduating high school, then college, then marriage, then divorce. I realized it was something to do with change but I just couldn’t figure out what it was.
Then it hit me. Death.
My relationship with my mother was at best respectful. We were not particularly close but made it work. What’s interesting is that when she died, it was still very difficult for me. A profound shift comes when the person that brought you into this world leaves. You are an orphan. The cord is cut.
Nothing you can say. Nothing you can do or think or buy or throw away will ever bring her back. There is no way to change the finality of it. You then realize that life will be different and you have no idea what that will be like and it’s terrifying. You are in a void.
So on New Year’s Eve, as I sat and watched the white lights sway, I realized that a part of me died in 2020 and there is nothing I can do to change that. I’m not terrified, but I am feeling the death and the anticipation, and the uncertainty of something new that I have no idea how to navigate. The best I can do is feel the fear and try to breathe. I just have to have faith that the new world in front of me will support and nurture me like my mom.
Many, many years ago I had a friend who used to refer to me as “She who calls the wind”. The title came about because I not only welcomed change, but navigated it quite easily. I had a sense of direction in my life.
This past year the wind wasn’t a gentle breeze or even a hearty gust. It was a vortex, a tornado. We were all tossed about like the cow in the movie Twister, just circling, trying to hold itself upright.
I still have my hopes and dreams and I have a sense of where I’m headed but not with the certainty of the past. Not with the visible assurance of the snow on these trees. You know where the wind came from and you know where it went. Maybe I will find myself in the cold of winter. In the icy layer of snow that covers my bark and lets me see what I could not sense. Maybe I will know the direction of the wind.
On my Sunday walk I noticed the light as it hit the snowy footprints in the path. Some were hard pressed and some barely indented the crunchy snow. The edges of the path glittered with tiny specks of red and blue and sometimes gold. It just depended on how the light was.
A half smile came to my face as I thought of all of those steps. Each one a moment of time. There were thousands of them by who knows how many people. It was like an imprint of an image, except the image was life in this one small space on earth, and these were the moments of that place captured in the snow. A winter recording.
My footprints were no different really. I would think, then breathe, then think and all the while the opportunity of the grace of the infinite moment was there. I just didn’t step into it. Even though I know it’s there. It’s something that escapes me but I still try. Someday I’ll do it. I know I will.
I did think of the moment that brought me to this place on Sunday. The feeling of wanting to be in nature and to see the sky. But I also thought of ALL of the moments that brought me to this place. All of the moments leading up to this moment. Just like the path full of footprints I have had many moments, many footprints, and I’m grateful for all of them. Especially the ones that hurt or were uncomfortable because I know that all moments are important. They’re all opportunities to grow and become.
I completed my walk renewed and eager to come back again another day. My mind calmed. My heart full of gratitude.
It’s been about a year since I started sharing my photos and ramblings. I hope to continue!
These are original photos taken with my iPhone 10. Someday I might upgrade. Someday I might even purchase a real camera but right now the desire is far outweighed by my practical approach to life.