"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

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Living through winter is very much like living through a season of grieving. Focus is narrowed, everything feels more raw and restricted, and the future seems a too-distant promise of relief. However, also as with grief, winter's gifts are profound and unique. Unlike the lush blowzy abundance of summer's sunny gifts, winter's are offered in singular contrast to its cold and dormant darkness. Because of that, each gift radiates particular meaning and light.

It's like stars on a night with no moon. The sky is dark—the world is dark—but each burst of light carries so much promise it takes your breath away. And the darker it is, the more stars you can see.

Some stars in my sky:

Every day for the last week I've seen or heard Bald Eagles. Yesterday as I began my walk, a mature adult wheeled out of a tall fir very close to me and flew toward the park where I was headed. She seemed to be leading me.

I heard, for the first time this year, the annual owl courtship in our field.

A frog greeted me loudly on my walk yesterday, his voice a hundred times larger than the tiny tight green body I know it came from.

On Friday, at the end of the day while playing silent ball, my kids were laughing. It was simple, happy, we're-a-family laughter that warmed the air and nearly brought me to tears.

This Malcolm Gladwell article that just happened to be on Facebook this morning somehow opened a tight space in my chest and left me breathing more deeply.

A cat sits on my printer looking out the window. Without his brother, Bunkie has accepted us as sufficient substitutes. He makes us smile with his antics. He warms my lap with his bulk and his purrs.

Contact was made this week by the company facilitating our summer adventure. It's time to begin preparing in earnest.

There are more—so many many more. And the more I'm able to acknowledge the gifts of a day, naming stars in a night sky that might overwhelm but cannot because of the multitudes of tiny gemstones, the more bearable winter is.


Barb said...

The small moments add up - sounds like some of your creatures are already thinking ahead to spring. I'd love to see Bald Eagles! Occasionally, we see Golden Eagles a bit lower in elevation, but rarely a Bald. I like this mindful post, Deb - counting the gems in a day instead of dwelling on darkness.

DJan said...

I just read the article, and I can see why it loosened up your heart, because it did the same to me. It is a beautiful thing to see the power of love demonstrated in such a way. Wow. Just wow. And thank you for this star burning brightly in my heart this morning. :-)

Linda Myers said...

I love your reflective post. I wish you could spend a few days with us in the sun.

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Another beautiful post that reminds me to find the light within the darkness. And now I'm off to read the Malcolm Gladwell article. Thanks.

Terri Tiffany said...

I am trying to do this as well--look and listen for the small gifts that surround us each day. You have an impressive list from this week! Soon this winter will be over:)

Linda Reeder said...

My January has been and will continue to be busy, a good way to beat the winter. But February, when I am in recovery, I will need to look for and count my stars in a dark sky. Thank you for setting the example.
And I do love the spontaneous laughter if your students while playing silent ball. I can picture that and how it must have felt.

yaya said...

There is so much in this post that has touched my heart and that I would love to comment on. I will just say that I have come to appreciate the harshness of winter...like trials, the winter season helps us to appreciate the warmth and beauty of spring and summer and also to make us stronger..atleast for us who live in the cold north! I read the book "The Shack" which covers the topic of forgiveness. The story is similar to the article you posted. It's a work of fiction however, so to know a true story that involves the death of a child and to experience somebody who has a spirit of forgiveness is really overwhelming. This month marks the 10th anniversary of my sister's youngest child's death. I witnessed the hardest thing for a parent to do...to lose a child..yet she didn't curse God for this loss. She thanked him for the 18yrs she was allowed to have him. A forgiving heart is the greatest gift we can bestow...thank you for your beautiful post and I hope you continue to experience the beauty of this season.

Retired English Teacher said...

Gifts…I could just see you glorying in hearing the Bald Eagles. I could see you seeing the Bald Eagle when we were on Vashon Island. I could imagine you hearing the frog. And, tears came to my eyes as you wrote of hearing the children laughing as they played. "Living through winter is like living through a season of grief." Is it at times like this, winter and during grief, that we look for the true gifts in life? I think it may be.

Thank you for sharing this article by Malcolm Gladwell. Have you read his book? I think I must read it.

Finally, thank you for the gift of you. The days are getting a bit longer now. Summer gets a bit closer. Hugs.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

"The sky is dark—the world is dark—but each burst of light carries so much promise it takes your breath away"

I can see it! Okay, I want to hear about the summer vaca plans. Where you going?