Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Listen To the Night

At dusk, in the somber gray of late December, the world is quiet. The woods are sketched in shadows and the sky is painted rose and cornflower blue.

Standing on my backyard deck, I listen to the woods — the creaking of trees in the slight breeze, the soft click of black sunflower shells landing on each other, dropped by wrens and purple finches at the feeder. Weary from a long year and the holiday bustle, my thoughts move among the trees as I watch squirrels chase each other through the snow.

As the sun travels beyond the earth’s far, recumbent edge, dusk settles into crevices in the woods, and shadows lengthen into the solitude of sister night. I open to the mystery of what is here.

Mystery. This is what I need to feel again. I need the presence of the Eternal. The Power of the wilderness that has remained untouched since the breath of Creation. Something enduring. Unchanging. The deep-rooted heart of the land. I need to lose myself in nature’s wonder.

If this quietness should bring back a forgotten memory, an unresolved feeling, or an insight into something that once seemed impenetrable, I would dwell on it and perhaps understand it better. But I don’t need anything to happen tonight. The presence I feel is enough.

The silence of the woods with its blue shadows, the appearance of stars sparkling overhead, the slow journey of the earth turning through the dark, majestic cosmos, remind me of Sigurd Olson and what he wrote when he paused in his paddling on Lake Superior and listened to the world:

The movement of a canoe is like a reed in the wind. Silence is part of it, and the sounds of lapping water, bird songs, and wind in the trees. It is part of the medium through which it floats, the sky, the water, the shore.


This week, when holiday parties became overheated, other people wandered onto back decks around the neighborhood to cool down. They listened to the woods quietly celebrating winter, and felt hope moving in the mystery of the unseen.

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