Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bare Bones and Hope

For most of my life, winter has been something to survive. Our winters are not harsh: I'm not talking about physical survival in the sense of Alaskan gold miners in the 1800's. I'm talking about the depression that results from sunlight deprivation.

Last winter I survived by running away to Alaska, where it never gets properly dark in June. This year I'm surviving by making sure I do something I enjoy every week, and that I focus on those things.

But there is something about winter that I have always loved - the bones, the bare bones that get to show their beauty unimpeded.

With fewer trees and less grass, the bare bones of the land are easier to see. I love the way the land folds and creases,

 and how the shadows emphasise the shapes of the earth.
 I love the green reminder of life that our native trees, and our pine forests offer, but I also love the opportunity that winter gives us to see the 'stripped down to their essentials' shapes of the deciduous trees in their amazing variety.

Not only is there variety in shape, the 'bones are of different colours too - something we don't notice when their summer greens and autumn oranges and reds clothe the trees.
 I don't need more land - but I'd like to buy the tree!

 I remind myself that even stripped down to their skeletons, these trees have not abandoned life: their sap is still within, waiting for spring; and hanging on the twigs of some, berries, seeds waiting to make new plants.
This old pine is nearing the end of its life - a few years ago one half of its twin trunk fell, rotten in its core.
 But even in death, new life finds a precarious hold.
This small pine reminds me that no matter how dark the present, there is always hope and possibility.

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