I find winter landscapes to be quite striking. There is something beautiful about the barrenness, the crispness, and the contrast of blue Manitoba skies against expanses of white. On days that aren’t so blazingly frigid, I will often trudge off mitten-laden down river trails, feet crunching on snow, eyes scouring the woods for evidence of deer and other brave winter creatures.
The crisp air and freshness of Winnipeg in winter is good for my soul.
More often than not when I walk, I find myself looking up. The shades of brown against the clear blue skies are often so striking, and I find myself quickly captivated by the beauty and stillness in the midst of the trees.
On a recent woodsy stroll I got to thinking about how the forest is beautiful both in and out of season. The leafyness in summer when the boughs are green and full is beautiful in a different way than the simplicity of empty winter branches; and the rich red, gold and orange hues of autumn hold their own magic.
The trees are beautiful all the time.
Now, if trees can be beautiful in all the seasons, at times of productivity when buds are growing and leaves hanging, as well as when branches hang barren – I wonder if we too, could allow that same sense of permanence and brilliance and beauty to extend to ourselves?
In counselling, I’ve found that many folks seem to have this notion that they are more special, worthy, valuable, beautiful, or important during seasons of productivity. And when such a season ends, and productivity wanes, so does a person’s sense of worthiness, loveliness, and value.
But what if we’re like the trees?
What if, in and out of season, there is beauty to be found in each of us? The trees are magical and majestic regardless of their output or productivity. Quite simply, the space they take up as they stand in the forest together is enough to make wandering walkers marvel.
Some seasons in our lives we can be productive, and leafy, and green. Our accomplishments are as plentiful as the heavy boughs arching overhead, and we can reach out and touch all that we have produced. And that is good and beautiful.
But as accomplishments fade into oranges and reds, and as they drop from the trees – the very frame of what is left – that essence of who you are apart from the things you’ve done or produced, that frame is still, just like the trees, striking and good and beautiful, albeit in a different way.
I left the forest yesterday feeling all sorts of warm fuzzies on a brisk day, full of compassion for myself and others, all of us people moving through seasons of plenty and seasons of barrenness – each one beautiful in its own way.