Friday, January 13, 2012
Winter, in its dormancy, has a stillness that permeates through the echoes between the branches. Many trees do not have the vibrancy of their leaves, and much of the perennial landscape has abandoned life above the soil and gone into a still and gentle hibernation. Some species of animals take this time to hibernate in warmer dens--their voices silent--not to be seen or heard until spring. Nature's vivid colors are absent, and the gray and brown hues have a restful quality about them.
In winter, I am able to find stillness more than in any other time of the year. In the spring, I am active with preparing the garden for the growing season. Summer is filled with maintaining the growing plants. And autumn is a time when things slow down, but there is lots to do to clean up and prepare for winter. At this time of year, the garden is resting, sleeping, still, and I find myself moving a bit more slowly and having more breathing space in between tasks.
If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation. - Chuang Tzu
In Traditional Chinese medicine, the Chinese believe that for optimal health we humans should live in harmony with nature. The seasons guide us by dictating where we should focus our energies. Winter is a time of rest and replenishment, a time to conserve our energy so we may have more vitality once the activities of spring begin. It is a time of reflection and introspection.
As stillness is one of the words I have chosen to guide me through this new year of 2012, I am content to find stillness in this cold and windy winter and carry it through to spring, summer, and fall. To find those moments during the mass of deadlines, the prattle of mind chatter, and the bustle of chores as the year steps into spring is a welcome challenge. I hope to stop my clock periodically and sit abidingly in the stillness to remind me of its cherished value.
Many years ago, winter was my least favorite season. The gray cloudy and cold days could bring me to the brink of depression. Colors were dull, and the forest seemed lifeless. The days seemed to linger and never move to the next. The holidays were over, and it seemed there was nothing for me to look forward to until spring when the gold of daffodils and the lively colors of tulips adorned the landscape. Over time, I found the wisdom and value in bringing my attention to rest and replenishment. Now, I welcome it. Winter seems to be a season when there is more of an expanse of time. I have eventually found the magic in settling in stillness.
Nature consistently and calmly demonstrates its wisdom by simply following its age-old rhythm. No matter what happens, winter comes, rest comes--and the stillness predominates.
When winds are raging o'er the upper ocean
And billows wild contend with angry roar,
'Tis said, far down beneath the wild commotion
That peaceful stillness reigneth evermore.
-- Harriet Beecher Stowe
I am linking up with Holly at Your Gardening Friend for Friday's Photo Blog Hop.
© copyright 2012 Michelle A. Potter
Posted by The Sage Butterfly