The winter woods beside a solemn
river are twice seen–
once as they pierce the brittle air,
once as they dance in grace beneath the stream.
In air these trees stand rough and raw,
branch angular in stark design–
in water shimmer constantly,
disconnect as in a dream,
shadowy but more alive
than what stands stiff and cold before our eyes.
Our eyes at peace are solemn streams
and twice the world itself is seen–
once as it is outside our heads,
hard frozen now and winter-dead,
once as it undulates and shine
beneath the silent waters of our minds.
When rivers churn or cloud with ice
the world is not seen twice–
yet still is there beneath
the blinded surface of the stream,
livelier and lovelier than we can comprehend
and waiting, always waiting, to be seen.
~Parker Palmer “The Winter Woods”
May today there be peace within.
May I trust God that I am exactly where I am meant to be.
May I not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May I use those gifts that I have received, and pass on the love that has been given to me.
May I be content knowing I am a child of God.
Let this presence settle into my bones, and allow my soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.
― adapted from Thérèse de Lisieux
And which am I today?
…the naked bones of trunk and branches reaching stark into the gray winter sky
or a shimmering reflection, soft and variable, in the water-mirror at my feet?
…do I change with the wind or the surfacing of a fish, one moment still and quiet and another moment churned and churning?
…or do I remain steadfast and predictable, unchanging in the storm?
Knowing there are infinite possibilities, I am content to be both, knowing as reflection, I’m still called to be an image of God, sometimes clear and unquestioning, and other times cloudy and barely discernible.
Yet I know, without seeing or reflecting Him perfectly, He is there.