ODE TO WINTER
"The first to hear it were the birds.
Earth groaned a weary sigh: "It's time for me to rest....to sleep the night away". The news spread quickly. Forests of trees plunged their sap to hidden depths, unleasing an autumn fashion show of vibrant colors.
Tiny creatures scurried about in new wardrobes, quickly gorging on the crumbs of nature's ending banquet.
As He lay down, Winter came with blustry force,
pushing grey puffs of clouds toward a shivering ground.
Proud leaves of red and gold did a spiraling dance of death.
Out of respect, the sun retreated with her warm, bright light,
taking with her earth's rowdy creatures into another room.
And as they fled, He reached for his white blanket...and fell asleep."
Just a few weeks ago I took a picture of fall leaves putting on a show here in Alaska. They are the same ones that in April braved winter's last gasps to emerge as tender green shoots on barren limbs, quickly soaking up the rays of sunshine from the ever-lengthing days of an Alaskan springtime. It would be a mad rush as the canvas of this awesome landscape put forth its glory;pussy willows first, then cottonwoods-- bringing forth the lucious scent of balsam-perfumed air.
The sound of honkers and mallards took my eyes skyward to view their "home for the summer" annual migration ritual. Meanwhile, out at sea, salmon smelled the scent of home too, as snow and ice began to melt in familiar streams and sent forth fresh waters into a salty ocean to signal the time of return. Everything instantly leaped into action, much like runners leave the starting blocks when the pistol shot is heard.
The mad rush expoded into a frenzied competition as flowers, weeds. and grasses fought for space and light. It seemed that all of nature understood Alaskan climate; yes, that there would be long hours of sunlight--but all of it compressed into one brief summer.
One could easily miss much of the action by simply taking a nap...
But now the air is crisp and snow has already worked its way down the upper reaches of the surrounding mountain ranges and now covers my yard. As the temperatures went up and down, it took but a few weeks for autumn to give way to winter and its equally long days of darkness. But change won the battle and soon denuded Alaska for another year as our eyes saw winter's canvas of beauty take its turn..
I once thought I would move away from change and find a place where there were only palm trees and sandy beaches year around. I tried it--for a year. And then I began to miss something. I wanted to smell the ozone from a thunderstorm and watch lightning flash across the night sky--to see leaves turning golden and gentle snowflakes flutter downward.
Then it happened again: the long months of darkness and cold made me long for the palm treess and sandy beaches...
So change is a challenge for me--I both want and desire it at times, but then I sometimes wish it would never happen. If I were to let it bother me for long, I would be a miserable person. But I have learned something: change will happen, and some of it can and will be permanent: I need only look in my mirror to discover that fact.
Change is also a mystery that involves our inner man, and that most important change involves "a change of heart". That only comes when we quit trying to satisfy our restless spirits with changes that are earthly, seasonal and only temporary, and choose to live this life on earth hidden together with the only One who can bring contentment to the human heart: the Lord.
Who ironically....never changes.
MARY E. ADAMS
(c) October 2007