It has been a surprise to see how quickly the land seems empty. It feels to me as if the seasons have descended at speed from a rich, verdant Autumn with ticker-tape, falling leaves to bare branches.
There is a symmetry that exists between the coming of spring and the arrival of winter. Each heralded by the activity of trees. In spring, the emergence of vibrant, green buds hints to the promise of long, hot days. Followed in quick succession, by an explosion of life. In contrast, the colour rich crescendo of orange, red and gold at the end of Autumn heralds a sudden baroness, as the trees put on their winter austerity.
During my morning, meditation walks, I realised this symmetry of transformation from winter to spring and now autumn to winter for the first time. Perhaps, in years past, my attention was captivated more by the signalled arrival of longer days and the extra freedom afforded to me to be outside. Perhaps, as the days drew in and the cold arrived, my motivation for venturing forth tempered slightly and, therefore, I failed to see the pattern of transformation repeat and then perhaps the lessons of a winter season are, on the surface, more challenging to the soul.
I wondered why the sudden emptiness of the trees had captured my curiosity. Winter does allow a different view of the land. No lush green leaves are covering up the landscape. The form of the tree is laid bare – long-limbed branches and whispy twigs spread their nakedness across the sky. All is exposed – decaying bows that no longer spring to life in April and branches broken by the year’s storms.
As this fantastic, exhilarating, challenging year draws to its end. I am in a place of transition. I feel like the mature trees on my morning walks – exposed. So I contemplate the lesson that my soul needs to learn. First, I am fully grown; my form and life’s pattern are spread naked across the skies of humanity. I am what I am. Second, the broken parts signal that I weathered the storm and the decaying parts that I lived.