One of my special life blessings has been to be honored to live with my family on the edge of the woods for these past 16 years. I am not sure how I was gifted with this wonderful experience when most people are not. The woods are a way of life. I am not trying to give the impression that I sleep out in a tent in sub-zero weather, and make tea out of frozen tree bark. No. I live on the edge of the woods. And in the Winter that edge is dramatic and exciting.
The woods were here first but kindly allow us to be neighbors. Living in the woods and among the trees, plants, and animals is to me like being apart of a living piece of art. As a collage artist I see myself as a piece in a massive living collage. In these long cold weeks of “Bleak Mid-winter” the life collage that surrounds me is stark and dramatic.
At night I look out my window and see the long blank inky shadows that the moon has painted across the snow. In the morning I see the lovely pinks and golds that the sun is painting across the frozen sky like a painting on frosted glass. Sometimes I am a part of a symphony of wind, whirling snow, or coyotes and other times it is an icy symphony of frozen silence. Often I feel a certain tension between the woods and its strong message and the everyday duties and distractions of this technological age. I find myself not wanting to feel the breeze, or look for birds or admire the snow sculptures the wind has made. I want to focus on my own thoughts and concerns. Every day i am given the choice of listening to nature, to Winter, to the chill and ice or ignoring the whole thing and trying to live my life as if i was in control.
And that is the gift of the Woods and the Winter- they both are here to remind us that we are not in charge, that we are all simply sojourners and pilgrims. I am daily trying to learn that lesson and let winter’s icy fingers remind me of who I am and who I am not.