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?
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 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.
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.