Baby spruce trees at twilight

Baby spruce trees at twilight

I ventured outside twice today.  The first walk, down by the Silver River, at mid-day.  An access site leads down to the frozen river where sparkling snow frosted branches and the sun peeked its head briefly from among ominous clouds. 

Later, this evening, as darkness descended upon the land, I meandered in the silent world outside our house.  The whine of a snowmobile broke the quiet as a machine squealed across the end of our driveway, headed down towards the bay.

I’m feeling reflective these days.  The Native Americans say winter is a time for reflection and quietude.  While summer energy finds us busy and outwards-directed, winter is actually perceived as a gift from the Creator to turn us inwards towards the realm of dream and pondering and thoughts and silence.

For the first seven weeks of this blog, I’ve felt very outward-moving.  Doing lots of activities.  Moving.  Snowshoeing.  Skiing.  Visiting snow sculptures.  Overcoming fears and climbing on the roof.  Shoveling.  Walking. 

Suddenly this week the energy feels more quiet.  I felt like asking the Earth today, “What do you want?  What message do you have for us?”  And then just have been listening in silence, watching, waiting, walking slowly, being still.

Frozen Silver River

Frozen Silver River

Have you heard it said that the Earth speaks a slower language than we humans?  The heartbeat of the Earth pulses at 7.8 Hz or some similar number.  We men and women resonate at a faster beat; therefore to truly “hear” the language of nature we must slow our thoughts, become quieter, listen to the silence.  And then the silence begins to teach us.

I have no idea if this is scientifically true.  But here’s a quote which points in this direction by Andrew Wyeth:  “I prefer winter and fall when you feel the bone structure in the landscape–the loneliness of it–the dead feeling of witner.  Something waits beneath it–the whole story doesn’t show.”

Snowy branches jutting across the river

Snowy branches jutting across the river

Spiritually there’s a depth and beauty in the winter which we sometimes miss in the more active spring, summer and autumn.  I’m beginning to connect with the subtle language of it.  Here’s what Fiona MacLeod says in “Where the Forest Murmers”:

“Go to the winter woods:  listen there, look, watch and ‘the dead’ months’ will give you a subtler secret than any you have found in the forest.”

While some people prefer brisker walks, heart-pumping activities, there’s something in me which prefers the slow contemplative pace of listening to what’s beneath the surface. 

It feels suddenly like it’s not only me walking outside the door to see what’s outdoors….it’s also like the outdoors is wanting to get inside of me.  That this year the language of nature is the teacher.  And it’s important not to go too fast.  Silence and slowness can be teachers for us all.

Looking down our road towards the bay

Looking down our road towards the bay

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