I have developed a new habit this winter. I have been walking/hiking around my farm almost daily. I have walked in rain, snow and freezing temperatures. I have explored new areas and discovered a lot of interesting things. I have found cave entrances, old roads, dried up creek beds, the perfect spot for a pond, and a tornado ravaged section of woods with trees that grow sideways. There for a while, I knew where a buck lived and I would catch a glimpse of him every morning as I walked past his little spot in the woods. I never knew what a fox sounded like until a friend described their sound to me. Now, I hear them often while I walk. I have seen bobcats fighting in the woods. I’ve yet to come face to face with a coyote. I hope that doesn’t happen, but if it does, I always have one or two trusty farm dogs at my side. My walks have been good for body, soul and mind. I love them and feel out of sorts on the days when I cannot take them.
To be honest, winter has never been my favorite season. I do love a good snow storm, but that’s about it. Winter has always felt dark and dreary to me. By January or February, I have had about all the ‘death’ that I can handle. Everything is brown and lifeless and I start to feel depressed.
But, I think I have a new perspective on winter now. Yesterday as I was walking, I was thinking about the bareness around me, and a thought hit me. This isn’t death. This is dormancy. This is rest. The trees will bloom again! The berry bushes will flourish, and all the little seeds that fell on good ground will sprout and grow this spring. For now, everything is resting. I could almost hear the trees snoring as I walked through the woods. I was telling my husband about it this morning and he said, “It makes winter seem peaceful rather than dreary, when you think about it that away.” It really does kind of change one’s perspective.
And then, of course, I started thinking about how this applies to life. I have a lot of thoughts to be sorted out still, but here is a brief overview. In our life, we will have winters. We need to embrace those times rather than wish them away. Winter isn’t about death. It’s about rest. Something in us fights against stillness and quiet. We say we want it, but we don’t know what to do with it when it comes.
Also, I read that if trees did not go dormant in winter, they would die. Scientists call the fact that trees go dormant so that they can survive an evolutionary phenomena, but I know that it is the handiwork of our amazing Creator. Sometimes, in our life, we need to allow situations to go into dormancy, so that they can live.
I was having a conversation with somebody the other day. We were talking about letting certain situations go and coming to a place of neutrality in our hearts. My advice to them was, “Put it to bed, tuck it in and let it rest for now. If it’s meant to be, it will be.” Sometimes we might have a feeling or a notion about something that we want to happen in our life, or even something that we feel God calling us to do. When that thing isn’t happening, or the timing is not right, some people might say, “Just die to it!” Sometimes, there are things in our life that we need to kill. There are weeds that need to be uprooted or there are vines that wrap us up and keep us from moving forward. We need to be freed from those things.
However, there are some things that we just need to let rest for a while. We need to wait and see what comes of those things. These are things that are good and right, but if they flourished now, an unexpected frost could come along and kill them. Or, quite possibly, they are a young sapling that needs a little extra time to mature. Even the slightest frost could damage it, and it needs a long winter’s nap. They will awaken if and when the conditions are right. There is no guarantee that they will wake up. They could die during their dormancy, just like there is no guarantee that a seed planted in the ground will sprout. But, when spring comes, so will new life, and even if it doesn’t turn out like we thought it might, life goes on. You could sit around and lament the tree that didn’t make it. However, I think about this verse: “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24 Even in death, there is new life that springs forth.
Those are just a few of the thoughts that I have been mulling over. Like I said, there are a few more, but these are the big ones right now. It’s time to get ready for my walk. It’s going to be a cold one this morning!