Friday, December 2, 2011

From This Place

This picture hangs above our fireplace right now. I say "right now" because when your husband is a photographer, things like this change from time to time. For the most part, I am pleased with the transitions. But this one, the one he calls Snowy Oak, is different. I may just keep this one up for a very long time.

BWCA 2007
Nature heals me. More specifically...the woods. I am never so close to the divine as I am when I am laying stretched out on some huge stone or back side up with my head to the clouds, capturing pieces of sky beyond tree tops and quivering leaves or laying face down in the moist mossy earth.

I remember feeling this way as a child in the arms of my father. Safe, warm, connected to something so much bigger than me. I can smell his fresh t-shirt as I pressed my cheek to his chest. I can hear his heart beating as if it somehow were my own, carrying me within the gentle cadence of his strength.  

I don't get out into the woods much any more. Conditions have to be just right - for me and for the woods. But I try not to grieve any longer for what I don't have. It's a pretty useless way to expend energy. What I do try to do, is to draw from within, those many experiences I HAVE had. That's what Snowy Oak does for me. I can stand in front of our fireplace and become completely lost in the twisted, gnarled, snow covered branches that fill my wall. My breathing slows as I am drawn into the motion of each flake, to the wrenched rhythm of each brittle twig. I can smell the frozen air. I can feel the cragged meandering bark as I run my bare hand down her trunk. Wrinkled crows-feet worn like the badges of an old women. If I were a fortune teller of oak...Oh, the stories I could tell!

This is most holy.

When I sat down to write to you today, I was filled with a sort of melancholy. I'm not really "feeling" the whole Christmas thing this year - at least, not in the traditional sense of things. Which, I am finding, is actually a good thing. At first the temptation was to wonder what's wrong with me. But as I look inward, what I am realizing is that I am filled with a deep sense of longing. Longing not for the brightly covered busy-ness of the perfectly decorated Fraser Fir or Scotch Pine. Longing not for the hubbub of city streets or the thrill of finding just the right deal or even the display of  holiday lights. What I'm longing for this holiday season is this...


This kind of Quiet...

It is from this place, from the quiet dead of winter, that I want to venture out from.

It is from this place, from the barren fields of snow, that I want to adorn my home for the gatherings.
It is from this place, from the lifeless empty branches, that I want to give the gifts of my heart.

It is from this place, from seemingly endless nights of December, that I want to discover my joy.

It is from this place, this quiet, very still place, that I find home.

May we all come home for the holidays.



Anonymous said...

What a glorious post! I want "this place," too.

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Wishing you peace, quiet and serenity this holiday season.

Anonymous said...

I wish we all could have a "white Christmas" For me Christmas without snow it's like a pancake without marple sirup, it's missing something. AN sI think it's because This time of th eyear is buzzing with song, meeting, joy, and the snow gift you the silence and calm you need to apprciate all this.

Susan said...

Thank you for the beautiful post and sharing your husbands fantastic photography. The photos are stunning.

I too crave the quiet of the woods and find my time outdoors very healing. Several years ago, I moved to the country and my home backs up to a small piece of woods. I like to walk there when I can.

Recently, I pitched an old tent in my back yard, among the trees near the woods. I go there to rest and regenerate after work, and even sleep there some nights. No electric lights, no computers, no house noises, just the rustle of the wind in the trees.

I seem to crave quiet and dark and solitude these days. Perhaps our bodies need this to heal.

I wish you a quiet peaceful holiday filled with love and health.

Luana said...

What a beautiful post. Love this. Nature is so much a part of us and when we can find the quiet and really connect with it. It's a powerful thing, it restores us. This summer I really enjoyed doing Yoga on my front lawn with my bare feet in the grass. Grounding myself while I did my postures. The healing power of the earth can turn your day around.
Beautiful. Thanks for reminding me that there is beauty in winter. I often dread my boots, but you're right we can find connection even with snow.

Theresa said...

What lovely reflections!! I am so blessed by your thoughts, thank you.
As you all elude to, and as Luana writes, "The healing power of the earth CAN turn your day around!" There is something so basic, so fundamental in touching this earth - whether it be physically or in our minds - that is literally grounds us. Putting life into perspective and offering the holiness of her peace.
Susan, your comment is fitting with the post that Oriah Mountain Dreamer writes in her blog The Green Bough - you'll have to take a peek.
Ahh...this is so good!