Trees get too much credit in the spring and summer. We applaud their grand show in the fall. But there is something magical and majestic about their winter bones. In winter we can see discarded birds nests, inhabitants who have moved on to larger spaces. In winter we can look through groves of trees and see beyond the usual limitations of summer’s thick foliage.
As I pass another birthday and am becoming better friends with this ‘new’ face I see in the mirror each day, I wonder what it would be like to have just a little plastic surgery. I mean, even a sow’s ear can be lovely with enough surgery and make-up; a little addition here, a little subtraction there. I feel far too exposed, at times, as my face and body become less and less easy to identify as my own.
However, the trees in winter are no less significant even if their summer beauty isn’t as easily seen. Instead we see straight through to their souls. There is no hiding in winter. Everything is laid bare and open. And yet they stand there bravely. Unashamed. Still protecting. Still holding their place. Waiting.
Of winter’s lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer’s secret
Deep down within its heart.
– Charles G. Stater
Sure, we remember the flexibility and smooth surface of our youth, holding summer’s secret deep within our memory. But lifeless we are not. We still desire to be used for a great purpose. We still desire to love with our whole heart. There is still a great task to be done.
Do not misunderstand our purpose, waiting here in winter. We are regrouping and redefining and once we catch our winter’s breath, we will bloom yet again in the spring.