Reflections From My True Self

Remembering Who I Really Am

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All around me are bare trees and, as far as I can see, blue ice and snow sparkling.

With each step, I sink halfway to my knees. The wind from the lake bites my earlobes and makes my nose run.

But, beneath my feet and that thick layer of white, beyond what I could see, are the bulbs of bluebells and crocuses, already growing.


Photo Credit: Hanspeter Klasser

Photo Credit: Hanspeter Klasser


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Another World

I stand on this familiar bridge, looking down through the spaces between the steel, at the place where it seems so recently I spotted a lone turtle swimming through the unnaturally green river water. At the time, I was surprised that anything could survive in there, and I can still feel the warmth of joy spilling through me at the realization. Not long after, as I paused on my way across the river, I saw a great blue heron poised at the water’s edge, still as a statue, unblinkingly observing the flow.

Today, as I look down, it is another world. There is no sign of the electric green water. No sign of birds or turtles. Looking through the steel grid, my stomach does not quiver, there is no inkling of the vertigo that comes of gazing into flowing currents from such heights. There is no sign of movement of any kind. There is only a thick crust of white ice.

It is another world: static, cold, hard.

I yearn to see movement, a turtle surfacing gracefully or a red leaf swirling in the flow. Instead, the only sign of life is the cloud of my own breath.

The hairs on my arm rise, under all the layers of clothes, as the wind rises against me. I cannot stay here any longer, searching.

As I turn away, I remind myself: if I wait long enough, the water will flow again, and the trees alongside it will grow leaves, and, if I am quiet, and patient, I will find wildlife here too.

Photo by Christine Landis

Photo by Christine Landis


Inner Seasons

I was taken by the concept of finding in my spiritual and emotional state a reflection of the seasons, ever since I first read about it in The Seasons of Change: Using Nature’s Wisdom to Grow Through Life’s Inevitable Ups and Downs, by Carol L. McClelland.

I don’t know just yet what season I find myself in, precisely now, but I do know that I have been living with, sitting with, and walking with many people I care about who are deep in the coldest winter.  By that, I mean that they are in darkness, they are hurting, ill, afraid, or feeling weak and their energy is turned inward, gathering, waiting for —or perhaps creating— the spark of the winter solstice, when light returns to their landscape, and with it hope and fresh determination to move forward.

A winter view, seen through a peep hole

I have been feeling bruised, sensitive, tender.  And, even though the winter here has been unseasonably warm and snowless, the outer landscape has still mirrored the bare winter in my loved ones’ inner landscapes.

So it’s no surprise that I forgot! I forgot that, even as the (north of the) northern hemisphere is scrubbed down by winter, even as the trees stretch bare limbs to the cold sky and the ground is hard, in the south the season is summer. I forgot that even if my inner landscape is blanketed by snow, my neighbor may well be bursting forth with ideas and the new energy of spring, or thriving, relishing their confidence in summer.

Remembering that, I am filled with joy, I feel renewed. That, perhaps, is the spark I have been yearning for!