Saturday, 9 June 2012

Winter lessons in letting go

I've never thought of myself as a ‘winter person’. Don't like the cold. Don't like the grey. Don't like the darkness. It exacerbates my pain. I experience winter as a season of grief. A heavy time, where the warmth of other seasons seems lost forever. But this winter I have a new little buddy, a wee bird who is teaching me a lesson in letting go of all that I perceive as cold and getting some warmth back into my life, regardless of the season. 

The bird often sits in the bare branches of the elm tree in the backyard. I think it sad that the tree has lost all its beautiful leaves but I've noticed that the bird takes advantage of its nakedness. She sits at the very top having the best view of everything. There are no leaves to obscure her range of sight. She is in a good position to see everything that is going on. I suspect she doesn't grieve the end of the youthful spring, the passing of summer's warmth, the promise of harvest in the autumn gone. To the bird, winter is not like a death. She does not feel the need to withdraw and wait impatiently until the seasons turn again. She seems to enjoy the crisp air. She sings to the sky despite its grey undercoat.

I’ve learned from her. It occurs to me that one of the things a period (be it a season or a moment) of winter does in my life is to lay everything bare so that I could examine how I’ve been living, thinking and feeling. In resting in the quietness of the stripped back season, I can look out to new horizons. I have a chance to reflect and brave my fear of all that I experience as cold and desolate. Change is not easy at the best of times but there is a time to let things lie; to accept the solitude and in it, be at peace with the lessons that winter brings. And despite it all, like the wise little bird, I can still sing to the sky.