At Home In the Winter Woods

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

Winter's layers

Winter’s layers

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.

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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.