Monday, February 10, 2014

Life's Cycles

I've been so struck by nature's life cycle recently. The bare trees, stripped of all their color and warmth; the sweet birds, flitting around from bare branch to bare branch; the snow-covered earth and the brown grass below; the squirrels, still chasing each other across our back fence, but with less enthusiasm and spirit. I've been thinking about the seasons - in the midst of one of our coldest winter's ever, it can feel like the snow will freeze us all before Spring and it's warmth find their way back.

There's something deeply morbid and richly hopeful about this life cycle. It awakens us to the knowing that all things will pass, if, somehow, we've managed to escape this reality in its darker, starker forms. We see with clarity that, for a season, there is cold and death; shriveling and fading. And we, like the leaves, the birds, the grass, we will die. Winter calls us to embrace our mortality.  

But, likewise, winter reminds us that this too will pass. The snow will melt, the grass will grow. The birds will lay their eggs and find abundant nourishment all around as the trees burst with new life. This is a sure hope: Spring will greet us again, with warmth and rain and life. 

From our front window

And we will welcome her, all the more for the cold that we've just endured. Though she may tarry longer than we'd hoped and though our bones may feel frozen stiff, we will not deny her beauty. We will not begrudge the blossoms for coming forth or shame the birds for singing. We will say, with a calm hope, Welcome, friend. And we'll enjoy the days we have. We'll embrace new. We'll relish the warmth that leads us to summer and breathe deeply of the colors that draw us into autumn. 

Somewhere, we will know that even this will pass; that winter will come again. And so with hope, comes pain; with joy, comes vulnerability; with love, comes loss. Nature tells us this story, our story, year after year after year. It is profoundly demoralizing and unavoidably inspiring. It is life. 

Just lay back & enjoy the ride!

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