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.