After a heavy wind, the kind that takes you out in fragments, scattering chips, and limbs and needles. Making you wonder what just happened. It starts with just one bite but then grows to a colony of doubt and insecurity, fear and uncertainty. You become hollow, just a shell of mild expression, seeming strong and unfailing.
Sheer will gets you through the tough times even when you don’t realize how fragmented you really are. When a strong wind will bend and break what seems to be solid, and someone has to come along and pick you up from the side of the trail.
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?
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.