The Secret Work

Nothing moved in the snow-covered garden. Stillness gripped everything to my left and my right with the exception of the slowly grazing horses to the east and the circling presence of my geriatric Sheltie, Autumn. A pre-dawn potty run had me waiting in the crisp -4 silence carefully watching my dog. After a stroke earlier in the week, she was doing better, yet still off balance enough to need a human companion with her as she searched for and found the “perfect spot.”

I had bundled up well, so the waiting was comfortable, but I also knew it was only a matter of time before the cold would seep through my down-filled coat and freeze my bones. I silently encouraged Autumn in her task. During the rest of the year the garden hosts vibrant colors of green, lavender and orange. But now the below zero temperatures assured me the only thing still living above the snowline were the sturdy maples, oaks and pines.

The poet John O’Donohue once said that spring was winter’s secret work. I love that. On the days in life where everything seems frozen into place, when it feels like it could be winter forever, and that spring will never come – underneath it all is the breath of the earth. The maple reaches her roots deep into the ground to breathe in energy for the spring sap run. The flower appearing dead above the snowline, gathers strength from below for the season of blossoms.

Spring simply shows off the hard work of winter.

Under the snowline there is life, that is certain. Rabbits are tucked in warrens, foxes hunker down in holes, frogs frozen in the creek await the warmth. During the times of deep winter, we can’t always see the coming of the thaw, yet we know it is on its way.

Deep winter of the soul is no different. Days, weeks and months of challenges, setbacks and stress can shift our thinking from hope to dismay. The feeling that “things will never change” invades our thoughts. And yet, we know that nothing lasts forever, including those things that leave us feeling desperate for change.

Even though at times you may find yourself standing alone in “sub-zero” emotions, bundle up well and take good care of yourself. Notice the stark beauty around you. The breath of the earth is there. Feel it. Attune your breathing to its rhythm. Spring is on its way.

Wishing you warm fleece and hot cocoa for weekend,

Andrea

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