"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dormant


The edges between the seasons are never clean or straight or even easy to find. It's officially fall for two more weeks, but little in the weather feels like anything but winter. All that makes fall a time of reflection and celebration of harvest and abundance has been replaced by bare branches and cold hard rain. In the same way spring will arrive on its own time, not driven by the calendar, but an early arrival of spring is so much more welcome than early winter.

I resist winter, both as a season and as a natural part of a life's process. I can't go barefoot or feel the kiss of warm air on my arms and face. Blessings are simpler and require more attention to find. Beauty hides in shadows. Light comes sideways and for such short bursts, if it can even break through the thick weight of wet gray wool, that it never feels like quite enough.

I resist the dormancy brought on by cold and dark. I don't want to rest and wait. I want to grow and soar. I'm tempted by the sweet escape of hibernation, the turning inward and avoidance of winter's stark lessons. But, I'm not bear. Only human. And no cave will protect me from the rhythms of my own life.

So I bundle up, follow Toby's excitement into the forest, and face the cold. On our walks I notice buds on trees and bushes. The minute leaves fall, buds appear. Fat, juicy, tightly packed buds. It doesn't seem possible that these tiny eggs of leaves could survive the harsh rigors of winter, but they do. And they serve to remind me of just how entwined life and death are.

It helps me to accept the dormant darkness, to surrender to it, knowing the potential for whatever comes next grows out of sight. It helps me to see that even as one thing dies, new life is already finding its way to the light - waiting for the time and conditions that will allow it the best possible chance of thriving into the full expression of its being.

As I study the buds it's also impossible to believe that death - even as the closing of a door - is a punishment. New life, unseen possibilities and gifts, cannot happen without the passing of old.

The red oak that stands strong and visible from my window does not release its dead rust leaves until spring. It clings to the old until compelled to let go by sap rising from its roots and sun calling from above. And even then I can find buds at the very tips of branches, promising new life to be born from cold dormancy. So even stubborn holding on cannot stand against the cycles of the seasons.

30 comments:

Suzy said...

Gorgeous post.

Love you

Suzy

LauraX said...

"Light comes sideways and for such short bursts, if it can even break through the thick weight of wet gray wool, that it never feels like quite enough." and then the stubborn leaves at the end holding until the last moment when the sap rises. So beautifully written Deb the whole post. I understand the resistance to cold so well as I sit here under my covers with the hood of my hoodie over my head while I write to you!!!

but colder and older are part of the deal and so we can grip tightly or release softly like the snow flakes as they touch down to the earth.

B. WHITTINGTON said...

Deb,
Thanks for the beautifully written post. It says exactly how I feel about winter. I want to resist it. I stay in bed longer, I don't want to put my feet out on the cold floor. I have to make myself go on outings - I cling to the door knob even dreading those snowflakes on my nose.
BUT tomorrow I shall venture forth and shop - I haven't been yet.
Have a lovely day and thanks again for this post.
Barb

Carrie Link said...

No.

#1Nana said...

This morning I awoke to sun streaming in the window, a sliver of sun lighting up my pillow. It wasn't warm, but it was bright and I lay in bed and enjoyed the illusion of basking in the sun. I think the Universe gives us this weather so we appreciate spring. Imagine if we had glorious weather all year long...easy to imagine, we'd be living in Hawaii, not the PAcific Northwest!

Linda Myers said...

I woke this morning to a long, loud clap of thunder and a torrential rain as an usual weather time passed over Seattle. I love weather other than the dreary normal stuff. I hope we get lots of snow.

I've noticed myself a little dormant, too, and I don't much like it. I've booked myself a busy few days to overcome my tendency to stay inside and eat!

Elenka said...

I got in my car after going to the bank today and saw thick buds on a tall shrub. I pretended for a few seconds that it was March and that these buds were on the verge of exploding. Alas, no truth to the matter. Winter is hard. One good thing....many times...it's so beautiful....but still so hard.

Wanda said...

Put the top down anyway.

deborahjbarker said...

Beautifully written and a joy to read Deb. Oh my, but I love Winter! I love the shortened days that remind me of a childhood spent by a roaring fire, toasting crumpets on forks, feeling cosy and cushioned from the world. I thank my mother for giving me this memory because even when the snow and ice prevent me venturing far, I am quite happy to stay home and write. Even when rain lashes down and I am battling through the elements with shopping or work files, in my mind I am heading home where warmth and shelter reside. Idealistic and I know it has its downside but I do love the idea of winter 

Facing50Blog.com said...

Good Morning from a wintry UK.I don't quite know how I found your blog but I pressed something and here I am. It's such a beautifully written blog that I have added myself as your latest follower. I also love the photos on this post and the next.
Please feel free to drop by my blog and maybe follow if you want.
Warmest wishes
Carol from www.facing50withhumour.blogspot.com
Last post 'Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...'

Ann Best said...

You said you came over to meet me from Janna. I'm so glad you did! Now I can meet you. I've scrolled through your recent posts and am touched by the beauty of your reminiscences. You are indeed writer of memoir, and I would love to read your WIP. I hope it will be finished soon and in some way published.

Winter--I shiver. Give me perpetual spring, though then I think life might be a bit boring. I just don't like it too hot, or too cold. Both are hard on me and my daughter. Your talk of Connecticut and these beautiful pictures you've posted take me back in memory to a lovely place. I lived there with my first husband and four small children from 1968 to 1971. He went to the University of Connecticut in Storrs. The woods of Connecticut. New England. I LOVED the place, though the winters there were VERY long and cold!!!

I am now a follower....

kario said...

I am sitting here, wrapped in a blanket with a cat by my side and the heat turned up reading this. As I read, a calm settles into my bones and I imagine you resting as the buds to come are slowly pushing through in their own time. I am not in a hurry for it, but I know that when they come out of you, I will be so thrilled to read them.

Love.

Cheryl said...

Hi Deb, I hope a few more may come and enjoy your glorious posts as I've posted about you on my blog today - passing on a "Fair dinkum'" award I received. Your lovely writing and your support of my blog are much appreciated. Nothing for you to do but enjoy it.

L'Aussie said...

Hello there! I came over on the recommendation of my friend Cheryl from Kangaroos...Lovely blog, lovely descriptive post. Thank you. I'll be a happy follower!

Terri Tiffany said...

The edges between the seasons are never clean or straight or even easy to find.

What an awesome way to describe the change in seasons!
I wish you were writing my book. I could use these kind of descriptions, but at least you motivate me to push my character deeper.

M said...

I love your writing! In every post, there is always a message...a reminder of the realities and the lessons of life. Keep writing, no matter what.

Love you
Mark

Amber said...

I camer here yesterday and read this a couple times. Then I was distracted before I could tell you how deeply it touches me. This really is just beautiful writing, Deb! This belongs in a book.

:)

Kathryn Magendie said...

Beautiful and wise and insightful - just as YOU are ...

yaya said...

Thank you for visiting my blog! I love your writing..and that post hit just how I'm feeling as the weather is wanting to be winter, refusing to let fall have the final word. Today as I left work and the weather was a bit warmer, it had the smell of spring...that wet dirt smell! Many times in winter if the sun shines, I will grab a lawn chair and sit and let it hit me in the face! I'm looking forward to more great posts and will be a follower!

Crawford Family said...

I just see you've won an award from Kangaroos of the Scrubby Brush. Congratulations! Stop on by and check out my blog too.

L'Aussie said...

Very poetic ode to resisting winter! Winter looks particularly cold in the Northern Hemisphere this year. Lucky Aussies.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Yes, new life coming from the old. Your walks with Toby offer you the chance to see that. Perhaps I need to put my cat on a leash or just get my rear end out there.

I like how you refer to being barefoot. I, too, love that. I hate when I have to put socks on in the late fall and a sweater. Can't just walk out my door. Years of living in the cold made me appreciate the warm ground under my feet.

Patti Lacy said...

Wow. Girl, you can pull off the prose. Lovely imagery, too.

For a few days, I've been bustling on the outside, yet dormant on the inside.

Waiting for a new plot to hatch.

Waiting behind windows whitened by snow.

Waiting...
Patti

Linda Hoye said...

Lovely. I resisted the winter season for many years and just this year am beginning to appreciate it for the unique blessings that it brings too.

Donna said...

Found your blog from your Aussie friend. Your post mentions our weather here And just how I am burying myself under a blanket as I type. Heading for a warm bath following. Beautifully written!

Kathryn Grace said...

"Even stubborn holding on cannot stand against the cycles of the seasons." Weather. Life. Thanks for the reminder to sacrifice what is old, complete, crumbling and to make room for the new.

Beautifully written, as always.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

This was beautiful!

Thank you for the reminder that winter will not win.

Barb said...

Your analogy rings true, Deb. The seasons of our life each has its own rewards. For me, now in the age of winter, I nurture the small buds of spring I see around me. It will be those new buds that will take over after I'm gone. I'm not sad about winter, though - I still love to play in it!

Bernie said...

"As I study the buds it's also impossible to believe that death--even as the closing of a door--is punishment.

New life. unseen possibilities and gifts, couldn't happen without the passing of the old."

Loved this thought, and will hold it close. It reveals a tremendous insight in a way that resounds in my soul after my loss.

Now I just have read about your loss. I did not know about it before. Oh, how my heart aches for you, my dear. You have had your share of pain in your life and I know that already you have been blessed with extraordinary ability to write with your heart to all of our hearts. I am so sorry for your double loss. God does love you and you are a real bonifide human being. Oh, yes.

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