We all wear changing cloaks as we walk through life, protecting us from what is not comfortable, hiding vulnerabilities, while also expressing the beauty of how we want to be seen. Only when we are able to stand before friends and loved ones, even our perceived enemies, uncovered without armor, do we reflect the truth of what really lies within.
Trees have always been sacred to me. Something about their graceful strength fills my heart with a sense of eternity. Many times have I smoothed my hand over the rough bark just to feel the vibration of their songs echo through my soul.
Winter is here, and I am happy to hibernate for as long as I can while still enjoying the great outdoors. I love this time of quiet solitude, when most people are hidden away in their homes. I try to walk every day, not just for the health of my body, but to be refreshed by the beauty of nature. I have several trees I stop to visit with along the way. They tell me how nice it is to trust the rhythm of our earth, and how tranquil it is to feel the gentle scrolling of passing time, from the earliest of morning rays, into the darkness of setting night.
When I moved here to New England, a lifetime ago, it was in late Autumn. The trees that had been so lush when I visited one summer as a teen, now stood naked and unadorned. Coming from Southern California, I was unused to seeing trees without leaves, and in their starkness I felt such loss.
A wise friend of mine who has been my spiritual mentor for several decades helped me to see through different eyes. I will always remember the comfort of her words;
This is when they are most beautiful. Each tree stripped down to bare bones, no longer hiding behind a cloak of leaves, revealing their soul essence.
Seeing them this way now brings me such joy. I appreciate my winter walks so much more for being able to view their divinity from my new perspective. I count myself lucky for each and every moment that I get to spend in their healing presence.
As I saunter through neighborhood streets, and forests far and wide, trees of every size surround me wherever I go. The lines and curves of each branch outline my path, creating sculptures against the sky. I may not always know their names, but they are my dearest companions.
With Spring still many miles up the road, and then suddenly just around the corner, I will be ready when it arrives to enjoy one of my favorite sights: newly sprouted leaves, vivid and bright, magically coloring the canvas of our world. No matter how many times I witness the blooming of creation, I am amazed how miraculous the birth of a leaf can be.
Life constantly gives us a chance to clothe ourselves in something brand new, opening our eyes and waking us up to possibilities. Like the trees we are able to shed what no longer brings substance. Gazing inward, we let go and allow the ever flowing beauty of transformation to begin. Only in the coldness of winter, with our roots digging deep into the earth, are we able to feel the warmth of the sun gently nudging us awake.
Having lost my leaves before the solstice, I will be ready when the light of spring returns to clothe myself once again into something beautifully my own. Vulnerable, yet protected in my bareness, I am grateful for this time of drowsy slumber, knowing my new leafy cloak will fully express the sacredness of all that I have grown into, and will also soon become.
Trusting, I lift my branches high up to the sun, confident my new leaves will symbolize everything that is right and perfect for me.
In Beauty May We Grow~ Raven
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