I have mixed feelings about this month. All of the leaves are off of the trees, it is dark so early in the evening and the landscape is a weird dull grey. It gets to me, I will admit. Just like the bareness of the trees, I feel like I become more vulnerable this time of year too, stripped of all the things I can hide behind.
I can’t hide behind the delicate spring flowers or the amazing bursts of a summer thunderstorm or even behind the beauty that autumn brings. Winter gives me a time to think … I have to be careful here – It could pull me out into the vast abyss of space and scariness where I am alone for too long with my thoughts. Why is it that the thoughts this time of year for me are typically negative or sad? 2016 has been a rough year but letting those thoughts over take my mind isn’t me … I need to pull myself back. There is a quote from one of my favorite authors that always comes to mind – “Imagine that the universe is a great spinning engine. You want to stay near the core of the thing – right in the hub of the wheel – not out at the edges where all the wild whirling takes place, where you can get frayed and crazy. The hub of calmness – that’s your heart. That’s where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you’ll always find peace.”
I need to stay with what is near and dear to my heart and it will all be OK. Sounds very simplistic, but for me it works. Focus on my family, my friends, pets, a beautiful job, and of course this amazing place we get to call HOME. So that’s what I do today, I go out in search for IT. For something that will bring me back to my center – and there it is, an old friend, Burdock.
It is an amazing plant, and I am sure that I have photos of it in bloom, but here it is just like me, stripped down to its barest winter form- the seed. Without the seed there is no survival.
The amazing thing about this seed is how it moves around … it is the best hitchhiker I know! Take a look at the amazing “hooks” on the ends – a wonderful tool to attach yourself to a white tail deer, dog or unsuspecting human as they walk by.
This hook inspired an idea! “In 1948, Swiss engineer and amateur mountaineer George de Mestral went hiking in the woods with his dog. Upon arriving back at his home, he took note of the burrs that clung to his clothes and he wondered if such an idea could be useful in commercial application. He studied a burr under a microscope only to discover that they were covered in tiny hooks, which allowed them to grab onto clothes and fur that brushed in passing. After more than eight years of research and work, he created what is known now today as Velcro, a combination of the words “velvet” and “crochet.” Made up of two strips of fabric, one covered in thousands of tiny hooks and the other with thousands of tiny loops, the materials gripped together firmly while still allowing easy release.”
Winter is what you make of it and I need to embrace what comes with it. Soon enough there will be billions of sparkles with the first significant snowfall. Tracks of animals that are here will weave delicate paths across the yard. Winter birds will visit my feeder and the beauty they behold will be much more noticeable because of the bareness of the winter landscape. I will watch the eyes of my neice, nephews and children I teach come alive with the innocence and joy that the holiday season will bring. I need to remember that even though things are bare and exposed now, that this too shall pass – and that I come from some pretty amazing people, family and friends alike. Sometimes for me to understand where I am headed I have to remind myself of where I came from. Understanding and rembering this is an important part of continuing to be ME.