"Winter's Long Light"
30x24 inches, oil on canvas, private collection
It's freezing outside today. Okay, well maybe 17 degrees isn't exactly extreme cold, but it certainly feels like it since we were extra spoiled by a particularly mild winter. Seems all the more cruel since everything started budding and blooming a bit early, fooled by the long stretches of unusually warm temps. After a long stretch of high 70's, we were even hit with a surprise snowfall last Sunday.
I don't like being cold. Winter is my least favorite season. But I am learning to find beauty in the diversity of each.. Winter's bare trees offer a starkness to the landscape, a kind of graceful filligree of naked branches against the sky, a transparency to the horizon that we don't get in the other times of the year that allows us to see much further.
I remember hearing Melissa Helser, musician and wife of Jonathan Helser, speak about "the clarity that winter brings" a few years ago at a conference on creativity. She expounded on the significance of seasons in our lives; how times of resting from producing fruit allows our roots to grow deep into God’s heart. (read more about this in the Cageless Birds devotional book, Cultivate Vol. II: The Clarity That Winter Brings. )
Reflecting on winter's necessity speaks to the barren places of my soul. Lately, I've felt disappointment and frustration that certain things are not happening out there on the landscape of my life. But this meditation reminds me that we are often easily fooled by outward appearances. On the contrary, a great deal is happening beneath the surface. Sap is rising, new buds are forming, roots are deepening. Dormancy is necessary for the energy required in upcoming seasons.
Soon the forests will be crowned in all their glory, but in the present, I'm challenged and reminded to be grateful for the changing scenery each season offers.