This post seems to be a follow up to my last post entitled “Release.” Probably no coincidence, the ideas presented themselves to me yesterday morning in my second visit to the restorative yoga class on Monday mornings at The Healing Shala in Cool. Last week with Christmas was far too busy to attend, but yesterday I decided it would be a great way to close out the year.
We spent the weekend in our yard preparing our plants and trees for the winter ahead. We pruned and raked I believe what must have been a million leaves, and my favorite, burned the leaves, debris, and cuttings in our firepit all day long.
As I left yesterday morning to go to yoga, I spent a minute looking at the trees and hydrangeas in front that we had pruned over the weekend. They seemed so bare, stripped of any of this season’s remaining beauty, cut back by at least a third of their height, and all deadwood removed. To the uneducated eye, one might think they had died.
As I situated myself on my yoga mat, our teacher Lynette, instructed us once again to set a mantra for the practice. I decided it made sense to focus on closure and renewal since the new year is upon us. As my yoga practice ensued, my mind kept returning to the vision of my plants/trees as I left them.
I often return to nature, both in my life and my writing, to offer guidance.
The vision of my barren trees and plants made me feel so peaceful. Removing the remainder of their decaying leaves, resting after a busy and productive year, all that remains is their core. The plants can no longer hide beneath their leaves and blossoms. Their forms and the shape of their branches tell the story of their existence. Decayed limbs have been removed, allowing other parts of the tree to become productive and robust. They will lie dormant through the winter, a time of restoration, gathering strength for the coming spring.
Are we any different? To remain healthy and grow strong, we, too, must spend time without our “leaves.” We need to turn inward to quietly replenish our stores. And we must cut the deadwood as it keeps us from becoming the healthiest version of ourselves. If a plant’s limb or branch dies and it is not cut away, the tree continues to try to send its energy and nutrients to the dead branch. This process, over time, damages the parts of the tree that are healthy, as they do not receive what they need to thrive.
Again, I ask, are we any different? Perhaps a human’s winter should also be spent in quiet restoration, looking closely at what serves us well in our lives, and probably more importantly at what doesn’t.
I look forward to the next few weeks, returning again to our yard to complete the necessary winter preparations, creating as many firepit sessions as I can squeeze out of that, and then moving inside for the duration… indoor fires, writing and reading, old movies, card games and puzzles, yummy stews and comfort food, and quiet reflection for the coming year.
Happy New Year to all of my readers. I wish you, above all, peacefulness in the new year.