Saturday, January 10, 2009

Winter's Dream

for Turtle-Woman

This old oak tree put its roots down several hundred years ago not far from my home. It helps me to put things in perspective, having been here since long ago, when only the Potawatomi people walked through here. Perspective. It's an easy thing to lose, but not in the presence of elders, whether human or oak. I visit this tree often, and its kin that are the remaining trees of a very old oak grove. Long before I came along, these old oaks were here, and will remain here long after I'm gone. They remind me of my smallness. They talk to me about endurance and standing strong over time. They tell me that even their existence here is temporary; that they too shall pass – so of course, so must I, and you, and everyone and thing that I love and hold dear. This isn't a dress rehearsal. Every day counts.

And they teach me that from a tiny acorn a great tree is born.

When I fell seriously ill a few years ago, they took me under their shade to teach me. As the shade of their canopy was stripped bare, so was I. They told me about standing exposed against the bitter winds of winter. They told me how to stand strong; how to endure; and how to wait for Spring.

I wrote this during that time of extreme schooling:

"When I step outside and walk through the park, I feel the Winter unlike ever before: the stillness, the darkness, the quieted landscape, yet underneath all of this "silent night, holy night" lies another world; a world of regeneration and potential awaiting to emerge. I think perhaps the winter doesn't irritate those of us who have the luxury of plenty of sleep and rest, the luxury of not having to rush, the luxury of not having to stress over the small stuff. For the first time in my life, I get to live in synch with Winter and it's quieter ways, and the only thing I really busy myself with, is that other world of regeneration and potential: seeds that appear to be quietly dormant waiting for the returning sun."

It's not easy to slow down; to move at winter's pace; to appreciate the light changing through the course of a day, living in the quiet of regeneration - the seed lying dormant, waiting for Spring. Quiet regeneration is hard work. It looks similar to 'doing nothing'. It looks like waiting. It's not. It's hard internal work; the hardest ever; letting go of the 'doing' and embracing the 'being', and waiting for the coming Spring.


Sandi said...

El P, the truth of your words is astonishing. I was diagnosed in the winter. I spent several winter weeks in daily radiation treatments. It seemed fitting, me and winter working at killing some things off so that other things could grow. Despite its association with cancer, I have always found winter to be oddly soothing.

el poquito said...

yep Sandi, I agree. It can be a fruitful time of reflection, and yeah, oddly soothing.

But it's FREEEEEEEZING tonight!

Keep warm.

tarzan said...

Ed, You've reminded me once again the lessons that nature holds for me..... they have always been hard lessons, but if we allow ourselves to be still and pay attention we can learn much. I will be conversing with my "rocks" again, and allowing my body time to repair. You are so right that it is desperately hard internal work. I will search for strength in the stones that came before me. TW

lakshmi said...

Ed! Look at you in the snow, I'm jealous! But not of your freezing or aching bones.

Your words hold a lot of wisdom and good advice for me. I feel like the water beneath the ice, slow moving as sludge, and those fishes whose blood has turned too cold to swim. Like them, I know this moment is passing. I sit out my winter, partially hidden in the light of day as half of me is looking inward, doing that work you were talking about. Inside, the candle stays lit, on simmer, a slow burn to keep me company. Maybe this is why I ache for snow, for the stillness and the quiet, for the freedom to exhale completely and rest, like the leaves and the grass, awaiting my rebirth.

I hope you can stay WARM. My Spring is just around the corner. If you get too cold, come on down and sit on my south facing deck, soaking up our Southern sunshine.

Much love,

el poquito said...

Hey La,

I just came upon your note here, and I was just over to your site and read that you got your snow! Hope it was all you wished for. We've made it to the cross-quarter, halfway through the winter, halfway to go.

I think I can... I think I can... I think I can....

Soon - Spring. And thanks for the invitation. Early spring... Hmmmmm.....

Hope your inward time is fruitful,
Love, -e