Frogs, snakes, turtles, snails, skinks, blue-tailed and otherwise…and so many other such creatures are quietly resting in their hibernation holds for the winter. They show us the slower pace that can be had in this season. Sometimes when we slow down, we find that we concentrate our energy. As I look at the creek today, the snow and ice atop the flowing current of Baldwin Creek here at the base of The Back 40, I wonder at the ongoing turtle and frog dreams just below the surface…dreams of soft mud to lay fertile eggs to come, tender grass to walk upon, abundant fly fantasies of the frogs, and sweet dreams of plentiful water and warm sunbeams…I imagine there are a few delighting dreams that I will never understand, as a mere human, but I have no doubt that dreams are alive and well under this creek’s snow and ice cover.
Contraction comes after an expansion…and the swelling, and expansion of summer, followed by the full fruition of all of it in autumn, leads to this natural contracted period of winter. It seems to me that we really have three seasons of expansion to one season of contraction. We are in this natural state, with all its cold, blustery, still, grey, even stark and bleak scenes, yet how would we even know it was even a contraction if we didn’t also know the flush and blush of spring?
So I walk this land today and notice the missing antics and activity of the groundhogs, opossums, raccoons, squirrels, and yes, even skunks. (We have a mother skunk who raised her young ’uns in the retaining wall up by the house one spring. Watching her take her eight kits out for one of their first walks and then what she went through to wrestle and cajole them back into their den was one of my funniest memories on The Back 40.) I see the quiet, senescent nature of these days on The Back 40 and find my heart filled with peace and a knowing that all is unfolding just as it is meant to. There is no rushing this process. Take a breath. Listen deeply. Mother Nature is breathing Her sweet rhythm of life and we are all breathing it together right along with Her, whether we are hidden away in the deep dens of winter slumber or out and about. What’s up in your neck of the woods?
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