Winter is not my favorite season of the year. I shrink back from the cold, and long for more color for my eyes. I want to get past the short days and early darkness and get on to spring. Yet winter offers an invitation to look deeper, to enter the cold, quiet, dark places. To have eyes to see the beauty that is hidden in the dark.
The following is a reflection that I wrote on the first day of winter 3 years ago, as I ventured into the cold morning:
When I left the house early this morning I wasn’t in a contemplative mood. I was task-oriented, on this the first day of winter, with a list to be accomplished on a Saturday four days before Christmas. Since I hate traffic and crowds, I ventured out early, even though I wanted to linger in my bathrobe with another cup of tea. I had to scrape ice off the car because I hadn’t parked it in the carport.
As I drove along the creek and greenway on my way to the first stop on my list, the frozen fog cast the trees and bushes in a magical glow, even here in the midst of the city. I was intent on getting to the store; but I slowed and looked at the wonder of nature. I thought about stopping for a picture, but didn’t want to get off task.
Fortunately the crystallized branches still beckoned on my way home, and I pulled over, parked my car, got out and walked around a small park, absorbing the beauty and stillness of the moment.
I wished that I was a better photographer, as I snapped some pictures on my phone/camera. But I knew that the beauty and magic of the frozen moment was more significant than any picture might convey. The significance of the moment wasn’t something I could capture in a picture. Rather, the importance was in the act of stopping and looking, of pausing, of seeing. Of putting aside the list and the tasks for long enough to observe and breathe. Of entering into the cold stillness. This was the most important part of my day, this first day of winter.
We have to look harder in the winter, the moments of light are shorter, but the wonder is there if we have eyes to see.
“But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” The words of Jesus in Matthew 13:16-17, as he explained a parable.