It would appear by the evening forecast that with few exceptions, we’ve no choice, no matter our zip code, but to acknowledge that winter has arrived in force. As I type this there are winter storm warnings across much of the country.
I’m an avid gardener. This season is one in which both I and the visible garden rest. The fall greens have succumbed to the latest cold snap. The sweet potatoes are dug and stored in the basement. The wilted peas, cucumber vines, and spent tomato plants are piled in the compost bin.
The garlic bulbs planted in late October and the daffodil bulbs I plant every fall (beautifully referred to by author Christopher DeVinck as “the flames of spring”) are setting roots and building strength and nourishment for the coming spring, for flavor and beauty. I know that though many trees and shrubs are barren, the perennial flowers shriveled by the last hard frost, there is a rooted strength below the surface that continues to thrive.
If you were to speak the words that come to mind when I ask, “What comes to mind when you think of winter?” I would assume that words such as, dead, bare, dormant, sleeping, resting, grey, and lifeless may be spoken. At one level that appears to be true, and yet there is also that which we cannot see; that which is growing and gathering strength for the time to come.
The Underground Journey is taking place. There is so much in our lives that occurs below the surface. There is much that is building for the future – however long these seasons may be – that we cannot yet either know or see. It is a season of waiting no matter how we feel about it. There is nothing left to do about a host of things that lay in the humus of our lives but to wait. No question that it can be an anxious time, full of the fear of our inability to do more than we’ve done.
And so there lies before us in this season our choices. There is the choice to move toward doing more, born from our anxiousness of wanting to make something happen, to push or pull, dig or transplant. Sometimes this is necessary. I have dug up plants that were in the wrong place – they need more sun or less sun. They need more fertile soil, or be in a place in which I can give them more attention.
Then there is the choice to rest in what is and what may or may not come to be. In our immediate satisfaction world, this can be a difficult place. It requires a sense of trust in powers beyond my ability and influence, certainly beyond my knowing. It asks me to let go of my sense of where my control lies. I’m reminded of this each fall as the tender plants literally let go of their own structure and collapse into the soil. Some of these will return while others won’t. I must wait.
So, as we move into this season of winter, this time in which much may be occurring below the surface of what we can see, might we sit in the waiting of expectation of what is to come for yourself, those you care deeply for, and those you’ve yet to find. Might you loosen your grip to allow time and space for the necessary rest of the underground journey that brings a growing season.
Peace by yours! Dane