Spring brings light on moist air. Captured water like fangs from a monsters snarl. Once without support soft and formless, now crunchy mud, now frozen and safe.
Crunchy mud allows you to walk across an area that would otherwise cause you to sink. When you step you sink only slightly because the ice, the crunch supports you. It’s a dichotomy of soft and hard, of wallowing and traversing to overcome. The ice although hard and cold, supports and protects you from the hard sink, the wallow that would otherwise cause you to have to come home and scrape the muck off your boots.
In searching for your next step in life you sometimes have to go very deep, so deep that you sink and wallow and dive so far that you have a good chance of getting stuck. If you’re a person who tends to think more than feel you will struggle to find what you really love in life. How can you be happy if you don’t know what you love? How can you be radiant and fully express yourself if you don’t know love?
The trick is to the balance between feeling and thinking because the thinking is what grounds you. Cold hard facts that sometimes freeze you are the ice in the crunchy mud. Sometimes you can figure out the next step on your path and stay above the the dark mud because you can pull yourself out of it with the strength of your mind, the cold hard facts, the ice.
This is a time of new beginnings. A time to evaluate and create and to know that in spring all trails have sections of crunchy mud.
Moss growing as whiskers on aged bark. Green and gray and sometimes blue by the light of day. Joyful warmth the sun brings allowing them to curl and hang and sway in the spring breeze as the aged bark dries and renews from the winter’s shell.
When looking for love we try to find a kindred spirit. Not just someone who is attractive or stable but also someone we see ourselves in. You know, the most desirable parts. But also a person we know will be there when we need it most.
I never really thought much about my past relationships especially my childhood. It’s done and why the heck hold onto something I can’t change. I realize now that I have been holding onto a wound so deep and so buried (like 10 feet under ice and snow and not even remembering that it was once there deep) that it’s virtually not even a part of me, like maybe a whisker growing sort of under my chin and I have to have my reading glasses on, and tilt my head in a certain way as I lean into the light when looking at a magnified mirror. You get the point. That’s what I just saw. A whisker of abandonment from childhood that has caused me to think too much about what I should be instead of just being. Well, got my tweezers! That whisker is toast.
Shiela’s in the sun and gathering the light. The light of understanding that is nurturing the relationship. Harry is somewhat in the dark but hey, he’s a man. (sorry guys). Was is always like this? Wasn’t there a time when Harry was bright and strong or was it just what Shiela wanted to see in him? Was it because she was thinking too much, trying to quantify her heart because she had to make the best decision?
Light filtering, in a forest mostly dark and deep yet it finds a way, awakening the forest floor and a few ferns healthy and fortunate enough to root atop a rock, claiming their own kingdom.
Sometimes we have to own our own kingdom. We have to dive down deep into a rock or the most unkind place without soil, without warmth, and reach up through it all to overcome, so that the light can hit us.
Sometimes we have to have shallow roots and lightly dusted snow to refresh our memory of spring and the warmer days to follow. Our roots shallow so that we can survive knowing that it is all temporary any way.
But I want deep roots, entangled and nurtured by my fellow green nation friends. I want to be held and supported. I want to be strong for others. I want to be a part of a network, not just a tribe but a kingdom.
Find beauty in all seasons of life, even when you are worn and your branches no longer hold leaves, or even a tube of green deep inside that sleeps until spring. Even when mushrooms prepare you as food for the others in the forest. Even when you finally rest on the forest floor.
Willing yourself to be positive in a situation rarely works. Your expression will only be flat and superficial. The real work is in the beauty. Finding beauty in all of life’s challenges is an act of finding love. Your expression is full and meaningful.
Sometimes life is really challenging. We have to reach down deep, into our roots, and pull every last bit of positivity out of us. We have to will ourselves to love.
I cross the field, partially frozen ground of water and ice bobbing surface, sending liquid to another crevasse not near me but somehow, still connected to my feet. Crunching, splashing, my wet feet navigating, weaving through a field that was solid but now shifts. All in an effort to reach the short one.
We say that seeing is believing. I think that’s where we get ourselves into trouble. We can always find what we are looking for and if we depend on seeing something then we’ve just sold ourselves short.
When I look at this stump I see what we don’t see. I see a fairy land with a large mountain. I see the sun setting on something that seems to be thriving, glowing. I see life even in the cold snow and ice. I see the results of what is a healthy root system.
I see a community of trees supporting one another and even though this one has little to show for it on the surface it is a part of a bigger whole, united.
What would happen if we didn’t see just the obvious? What would happen if we acknowledged and supported each other, even the little stumps?
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 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.
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.