Winter’s Clarity: Looking Beyond

Abundance is not about gathering.

Abundance is about seeing—

Spring and summer are all about joie de vivre, the joy of living.  Each break of day calls us outside, to join, to play, to celebrate life together.  Then, sometime in autumn, a chill begins to seep into our bones, and we prepare for a seasonal shift. Nature, in her undressing, prepares for retirement.  Once green and lush, landscapes appear as pencil drawings, exposing bare trees silhouetted against pale skies. Animal hides thicken and we humans excavate coats, boots, gloves and hats.  Outside furniture gets stored away.  Crockpots find their use again and yield hearty stews. And yet, as if to undermine to our best preparations, winter arrives with a cutting bite.  But, I wonder, is this all there is to winter? 

I prefer winter, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. The loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it. The whole story doesn’t show. — Andrew Wyeth

Simplicity and Clarity  

Andrew Wyeth suggests there is more to winter than cold and ice. I agree. He says we must look beyond the bare landscape for winter’s whole story, and in the stark emptiness, much is revealed, something awaits, something about us.

Photo by Bill Wranich

I find winter’s simplicity compelling and it lures me beyond the cold and the long dark nights. And I also find irony in the change of seasons. With so many hot summer days, July and August have me searching for shade while winter’s frost propels me to seek sunlight. I am invigorated by brisk walks accompanied by a friendly sun, that flashes flirtatious yellow lights at me behind the tall darkened trees. Amused, I wink back. Suddenly my eyes are diverted and then settle on a cardinal perched high in a tree, adding a regal speck of bright red to the scene.  As I walk on, I see thin ribbons of smoke rising from nearby chimneys. I imagine folks gathering by cozy hearths.  Candles flickering in windows emit auras that envelope me.  I step into its light.  I realize now, what Wyeth meant when he said there is more to winter’s story.  Winter’s light is open hand; a hand that invites me inward.

For behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:21)

While living in beautiful Lake Arrowhead, California, a mountain resort that in winter that was often blanketed in fog or snow, I began a new tradition.  One Christmas, after all the decorations and trimmings found their way back to their storage bins, I decided to leave the silk prelit tree in my living room. I soaked in its glow throughout the winter nights, nurturing something within me. I found time to nest in that light. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Luke that the Kingdom of God is within us. Those words flame within me, like the yellow fire dancing in the hearth.  I am grateful and mesmerized by “winterlight ” as I look deeper into myself. Winter thoughts begin and end with light.

For the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Eph. 5:14)

Nativity: The Light Within

Stepping into divine light awakens my inner flame, my own nativity. Taken from the Latin, nativity translates to arisen by birth.  “Winterlight” stirs us to seek that which waits within, waiting to be birthed.  Wayne Dyer wrote that every spiritual tradition teaches that our higher self is the presence of God within.  We experience pieces of that presence, with flashes of intuition and insight.  Even the word insight, tells us to look inward; to see into a situation.  Deepak Chopra says, “The higher self is whispering to you softly in the silence between your thoughts.” I imagine it saying to me, “rise up to your awakened self.”

Lucas, my young grandson, is a very early riser. Throughout the night he would wake his parents asking if it was morning.  Finally, his sleep deprived parents found a solution.  They placed a special clock in his room, a clock that changed colors, indicating sleep time or wake-up time.  When the light on his clock switched to from red to green, he knew it was OK to go downstairs, his new day awaiting. I think of “Winterlight” as my wake-up clock.  I step into its divine light; ready for what awaits.  The abundance of winter is in the seeing and the listening.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the LORD. Live as children of light. (Eph. 5:8)

The word ‘light’ appears 293 times in the KJV Bible.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. George Link says:

    gloria, i love it

    1. Thank you for the comment. I do appreciate it. Happy Thanksgiving.

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