chirps of cardinals, wind pushing cool air onto my cheek rosy with frost, fresh and tingling almost burning, my steps rhythmic crunching and crunching as I move forward in my desire, the desire to change the landscape of my life from frost to mud, then warm sun, golden
Out of the frost I move with conviction to change.
I’ve been making hats big, small, different colors and patterns. They’re crocheted around and constructed from the inside out so that I’m making a bowl that just keeps getting bigger. They’re awful but I can’t stop making them. It’s something about the process, the circle round or the fact that it’s a bowl I’m not sure but I keep showing up at family member’s homes announcing that I’ve arrived with another bag full of ill-fitting hats. Maybe it is a way for me to start a new year, a new ring around my life.
Crunchy steps under spiked boots on mud and ice. Slow drops on branch tips unable to decide if they were liquid or solid. Rain and 37 degrees making wet clothes from the rain and from the sweat. Raw wind as welcome relief from my body overheating, yet the air was fresh. The forest’s exhale was a gift. Despite the unpleasant conditions, the externals, the air brought me to the moment. The perfect moment when my sweaty body was refreshed. The misty raw air, hitting my face was wet and wild and alive, and I was free from that which was unpleasant.
May this year bring you the freedom to be wet and wild and alive and not be pulled out of that beautiful moment by externals.
My breath labored. Yesterdays footprints taken by the wind. Sun heightening snows colors as crystals of blue, and purple, and an occasional red.
It was just an ordinary day but it wasn’t because I was not in the office. Instead, I was hiking, as I wish I could always be. There before me was the most wonderful moment, quiet except for my breath and the wind clanking frozen tree branches like windchimes. In that moment I closed my eyes and became one with the land, happily, no presents, no pressure to get it right or be right, the best holiday ever.
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.