In turn, each season would offer its own special attributes, and I would respond.
Spring would bring with it the freshness of renewal, of plants budding everywhere, the whole world apparently burgeoning with new growth, and I would respond with joy and hope. Summer would usher in intensely hot days, with the sun turning bodies tan with its rays, and offering the heat and light necessary for blooms of every color imaginable in gardens and forests. I found delight in these things and easily dismissed cares as long as I could partake in the sunshine. Fall brought with it rich tones of reds, yellows, and oranges and a sense that all was as it should be – that there was an essential order in the seasons, which of course there is. Fall therefore brought to me a sense of order. I had for the most part dismissed Winter for years as simply a time of bleak, dull, stillness. Winter was just something to “get through”, as I was neither enamored with the darkness it brings, nor the cold, barren stillness I had noticed only in passing.
Winter had nothing to offer. It was only to be tolerated.
And we, despite my resistance, formed a bond.
At first it was not a welcomed bond. It was brutal and harsh, and yet I kept walking. I learned to enjoy the dark, and often began my walks before sunrise, which afforded to me the presence to witness sunrises in the crisp, cold, biting air. The brilliant colors set hard in the sky above the crystal blue lake was a contrast to the Winter I previously believed it to be. As the sky brightened to offer the new day, the terrain, with which I was so familiar, would present itself for me to behold. There, alone in the stillness of the morning, my feet feeling each detail under the thin crusty layer of leaves, I gained a connection to the Earth I had never know in quite that way.
I was a part of the Earth and it was a part of me.
In those moments, walking along, my lungs burning from the cold morning air, my breath billowing out in front of my face, and my eyes beholding the starkness of bare terrain, and my heart and soul feeling just as bare, I knew I belonged.
It is the Winter that healed me and brought me to my ”medicine of the Forest”.
Today as I walk along in the Winter, I do so with a welcoming in my heart. I no longer dread the short days, the barren trees and landscape, nor the cold, stark stillness, as these things are there to remind me that there is hope and potential, that I am of this Earth and it is a part of me. That everything, even death, is a part of the natural order, and that I belong. I now belong to the Winter more than to the other seasons, as I found, and continue to find, my truth here. Winter is now the season I honor with reverence, as it led me away from my darkness with its own. It met me where I was, took my hand, walked along with me, and showed me the beauty of a stark and barren landscape, as that is where the truth is found.
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