My favorite thing about winter is the silhouetted beauty of bare trees against the light of dawn. I love the shapes of the branches and how they reach heavenward as well as the negative space between the limbs– forming sky-colored puzzle pieces of emptiness.
The quietness of the season comes as such a relief from the days of fall and the pressing in of the holidays. The most I hope for is at least one blanketing of snow to cover the earth with the purest of light, and to attach to those tree limbs giving soft white accents to the gray bark.
In order to gain the bareness of winter trees, the variegated colors of autumn leaves must be lost.
I haven’t thought much about how this happens. When I searched the internet for a clear explanation, I found this, slightly paraphrased, from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis:
With the season change, weather and daylight trigger a hormone that releases a chemical message to each leaf that it’s time to prepare for winter. This process is a must for trees’ survival. In spring and summer, leaves convert sunlight into energy producing the verdant canopy of new growth. During that process, the trees lose a lot of water – so much so that when winter arrives, the trees are no longer able to get enough water to replace it.
Last October when I was keeping my grandson, Baker, he loved walking outside through the fallen leaves. There was a quick burst of wind and the leaves fell from the trees. We had fun trying to catch them. I told him the leaves were “falling” and that’s why we call the season Fall.
But now, I learn that the word “fall” is a bit misleading. It implies that the trees are passive during that season, when, in fact, they are actively “pushing” the leaves off their branches. It’s interesting now to learn more about nature’s perfect timing:
Abscission cells form a bumpy line at the place where the leaf stem meets the branch. And slowly, but surely, the leaf is “pushed” from the tree branch.
When I pondered what to write about this week, the image of the bare tree kept coming to mind. Now as I consider this process of losing leaves and needing water to go into the next season, I feel like that’s what I’m experiencing.
During January, I’ve felt the need for more sleep, more quiet time that’s like the negative space between bare tree branches. My energy has been used up over the past months of my journey and now I want only to focus on what’s absolutely necessary. I’m steadily working to get things in order for the next steps in this separation process. It requires me being more strategic with my time– how I spend my days working interspersed with relaxing with friends and family.
I see Spring and Summer in the distance and know that I’ll need the energy to ‘gear up’ for what lies ahead: putting our house on the market, helping my son and his family move into their first home, moving into my next home.
And did I tell you– that I’m going to be a Grandmother again in early July? Yes, a new joy and a busy family time.
Recently, a friend in Ireland sent me a picture of trees that inspire her. How serendipitous to receive that photo now while I’ve had the image of bare trees on my heart.
So in this season of winter, of bare trees and cold nights, I will allow nature’s process to inform and inspire me, as I hope it does you. May we relax in the rest and renewal of this time and await the promise of what is to come.
How About You?
What is this Winter Season like for you?
In what ways can you find relaxation and renewal?