My breath seemed to freeze as it hit the icy air. The monochromatic scene before me had a silent stillness, a feeling of suspended animation as if time had ceased.
I shifted my focus from the wide, white pasture to the ground beneath my feet where discarded leaves lay huddling in the gutter. Discarded may be, but encrusted with icy patterns they took on a new beauty. Even broken twigs and seedpods, weeds and grass sparkled like diamonds, as the first rays of sun hit their icy shards.
Nearby, roses glowed with a fresh loveliness, their almost spend blooms hanging on long enough to be highlighted by winter’s beauty, like a final curtain call before the theatre lights were turned out.
As the sun rose in the sky the scene quickly faded, the huddling leaves once more looked old and discarded and the roses looked tired and at their end; the magic gone.
How fleeting the moment.
I headed home, frozen to the core, with arching hands and no feeling in my feet. I pondered on all the joy packed into that one hour, the glimpse into a wonderland I could easily have missed if I’d chosen the warmth of a cosy bed instead. I thought about all the times I pass up opportunities and settle for comfort, and miss the best.
It’s so easy to equate contentment with comfort. Sometimes we just have to get ‘out of the warm bed’ of comfort to find the beauty buried in the winter of our lives. Sometimes it will mean aching to the core and searching with great intent among the discarded leaves of the season in which we find ourselves.
I don’t find that easy or desirable yet as I look at these etchings of nature, I’m confronted with the reality that often we are most beautified through the often bitter and harsh moments of our existence. The ones that chip and chisel and file away my rough edges, the ones that take me where I don’t want to go.
In 1861, Thomas Wentworth Higginson wrote, "How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose if there were no winters in our year", and indeed, in our lives.