She’s gold, noticeable in the sunlight, a contrast to all that is white, brown, green and gray of winter.
Her trunk angled toward the warmth, her only concession to what is expected.
She renews by slowly shedding what no longer meets her needs. Her bark peels away in gold, tan, brown, their ends hanging, curling back up to the sky or just limp gathering ice from the cold wind, both rough and smooth.
Her distinctiveness is her gift to the forest for without the gold, the shine, the curl, all would be uniform and tidy.
Her beauty, her power comes from within. She is authentic.
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 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.