4 PM Christmas Day 2012: My husband, nineteen year old son, and seven year old daughter take a walk across the fields and woodland just before sundown. Apart from the honking chorus of a flock of geese, the woods are still, but not silent.
A chickadee natters in the brambles and a crimson cardinal and his drab mate flit across the trail and into the lower branches of a maple. Up the hill, a buck and his doe bound uphill white tails flashing. I look through bare limbs down the sweep of the hill to the stream that flows at its base and to the rising sweep of land on the other side. Above bare limbs, a waxing moon emerges from the clouds and sails above us.
This land is like a chalice--holding the trees, the animals, the sleeping life within roots and dens between its slopes. And as I pause and give thanks, it holds me as well.
A few months ago in the glory of fall and summer foliage, all of these small and beautiful details would be hidden. But in the Croning months, the time of severity, all that has fulfilled its purpose has been swept away and repurposed in the earth. Winter gives us the space to be still, to note the small details, to see more deeply and with greater clarity to the roots and depths within and without.
May this season of returning light bring you all the warmth of friends and family and the invigorating clarity of the winter woods. Blessings!