This saying good-by on the edge of the dark And the cold to an orchard so young in the bark Reminds me of all that can happen to harm An orchard away at the end of the farm All winter, cut off by a hill from the house.
I wish I could promise to lie in the night And think of an orchard’s arboreal plight When slowly (and nobody comes with a light) Its heart sinks lower under the sod. But something has to be left to God. ~Robert Frost from “Good-bye and Keep Cold”
The winter orchard looks cold and silent yet I know plenty is happening beneath the sod.
There isn’t much to be done this time of year until the pruning hook comes out and then the tree is shaped and shorn.
I too can appear cold and dormant, unfruitful and at times desolate. So my future fruitfulness must be left to God and His pruning hook.
I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth, artist
How endlessly beautiful is woodland in winter! Today there is a thin mist; just enough to make a background of tender blue mystery three hundred yards away, and to show any defect in the grouping of the near trees. ~ Gertrude Jekyll, British horticulturalist
There is a stumbling reluctance transitioning from a month of advent expectancy to three months of winter dormancy. Inevitably there is let-down: the watching and waiting is not over after all. There is profound loneliness knowing the story continues, hidden from view.
We have been stripped naked as the bare trees right now; our bones, like the trees of the landscape, raising up broken branches and healed fractures of previous winter windstorms. We no longer have anything to hide behind or among, our defects are plain to see, our whole story a mystery as yet untold but impossible to conceal.
Here I am, abundantly flawed with pocks and scars, yet renewed once again. There are hints of new growth to come when the frost abates and the sap thaws. I am prepared to wait an eternity if necessary, for the rest of the story.
…times of dormancy and deep rest are essential to all living things. Despite all appearances, of course, nature is not dead in winter–it has gone underground to renew itself and prepare for spring. Winter is a time when we are admonished, and even inclined, to do the same for ourselves.
Our inward winters take many forms–failure, betrayal, depression, death. But every one of them, in my experience, yields to the same advice: “The winters will drive you crazy until you learn to get out into them.” Until we enter boldly into the fears we most want to avoid, those fears will dominate our lives. But when we walk directly into them–protected from frostbite by the warm garb of friendship or inner discipline or spiritual guidance–we can learn what they have to teach us. Then, we discover once again that the cycle of the seasons is trustworthy and life-giving, even in winter, the most dismaying season of all. ~Parker Palmer
Why has “Let It Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen” resonated as the universal pop anthem of the past year for people of all ages and backgrounds?
Maybe we heed the call to emerge from our dormancy, to reach out in our God-given ability to overcome despite everything the outward and inward winters blow at us.
I trust, from all I’ve learned in His Word — I have only gone underground temporarily and will soon emerge in renewal.
The cold never bothered me anyway?
Yes, of course it did, but it is not the end of the story.