It always amazes me on sun-bright mornings such as this one how I could have ever forgotten just how much beauty hides in a winter day. The ground is covered in rich brown tones borrowed from curling leaves. Here and there pop up patches of fall-parched grasses just greening, reborn from early rains. And, more than anything else, the stark trees of winter stand like nature's exclamation points.
How I love the trees of early winter, so sparsely dressed in their few remaining leaves, barely hanging on otherwise barren limbs. Their collective voice speaks in a brusque tongue of richer days gone by and of colder days to come.
But it's the unspoken story these bared trees tell that helps warm and strengthen me most. For when the trees are full, and green, theirs is a story already told.
Of course they can be put through an unknown dance by late summer winds, or catch the last moments of the setting sun and stand there, shimmering, in contrast to their own strange shadows. But even so, all that they are is in sight. And this is why I love trees in winter: With their last garments of green removed, I feel more intimate with them, as though neither of us can hide anything from one another.
And even though it may be a subtle one, I confess to feeling a certain hope in seeing this forgotten state of theirs. For if it's true that in this pure barrenness there dwells such honest beauty -- and that this beauty has always been there -- only hidden for the time -- then perhaps your absence isn't what it appears to be but only serves to reveal another form of your love.
Does this last thought sound too much like barren hope struggling for a new spring? I know it is not!
If trees move through seasons -- and their loveliness only changes to reveal itself in new forms -- then why not consider that Love has Her seasons too? And is any season more beautiful than another, or is it just that we tend to forget those very special elements each has to offer in its own time and on its terms?
Is spring greater than winter? Summer more important than fall? Don't they really need one another in order to be all that they are?
So, for today anyway, I find great beauty in your absence. For now the presence of your promise in me is felt more keenly than the residue of these last barren seasons. No, I don't see you; and it's quite clear that I don't know where you've gone. Still... and in spite of all this evidence... or perhaps for the very lack of it... I know that you are here.