Winter Trees

DSCF0095The trees took root in a better time, I suspect, before the water iced over. The signs of life are there, and in a peculiar way, the green in the background creates a starker image in a winter scene than it does when the distraction of warm breezes and pink blossoms cloud the senses. The winter forces us to become acutely aware of life.

I have a tree of life in the nether regions of my mind. It beckons to me, especially when winter white air cloaks the landscape. I can see it–its tendrils attempting to reach my conscious mind. I know this is the case because I’m drawn to images of trees of life, whether they’re depicted in bead-work by a Navajo artist or woven into an English tapestry. I know it because, in the middle of banal activities, my mental space will fill with a tree in full bloom, its branches and tendrils sighing, whispering.

Sometimes, I sense there’s a hand grasping mine, and it isn’t invisible in a true sense, but only by the five senses we’re confined to. Please don’t misunderstand me; this is one of the few days I’m not pretending to desire to have a hole drilled in my head, one known for opening up the “third eye”. My sardonic, contemptuous view of the world is turned off for the day. I’m not wearing those glasses. Instead, I’m simply sensing the hand that nudges, shakes gently, wakes up the person hiding inside.

The water is covered with thin sheets of ice. They’re so thin they aren’t much of a barrier to what lurks beneath. They’re like shifting, tectonic plates that shatter as they shift, and then melt away as the winter sun radiates subtle warmth on them. If the earth were that fragile, we’d have fallen into its center by now. But if it were that fragile, it wouldn’t contain a molten core. Perhaps we’d fall to the center and swim to the other side. Why is so difficult to break out of the ice?

The trees took root in a better time, and now that conditions are no longer conducive to their producing fruit, they’re stuck. Wake up! Shh…it’s the wind. I heard a voice, but it was a current of air. The sun won’t be out for long. That’s the way it works. There are only so many hours of daylight to wake up, stretch, break out of the ice, but the daylight, itself, distracts and dazzles with the way it shines on the ice.

The ice is beautiful and mesmerizing. We aren’t alone there. But nobody’s speaking; the silence is frighteningly deep. Wake up! Who can hear anything when the silence is deafening? Instead, the hand continues to hold mine, and little by little pull me closer to the tree of life. I don’t desire to sleep in its shade or climb its branches. I desire to be inside its trunk, lost in the nutrients circulating from the soil to the crown. Who doesn’t?

I’m tired of the oppressive silence, ironically filled with a din of voices I don’t care to listen to. I tell the voices to shut the hell up, but they don’t heed my voice, and why should they? Everybody has a part in it. Every frozen creature has something to prophecy to the frozen creature stuck next to it. Oh, but my philosophy works, and if you’d only listen to me, you’d thrive. Shut up! Just shut the hell up! You’re as stuck as I am, and, besides, I’m trying to hear the wind.



  1. Very cool stream of consciousness.

    I really can’t express how it moved me, except to say that it resonates. I’m happy to have met you, Jill. Your words touch places in my soul I didn’t know were waiting for a touch.

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