By Elisa Morgan
To be honest, winter is my least favorite season. In its cut-short days, life goes dormant and my soul slips within as well. The long nights stretch out over me like a sheet tucked in too tightly and my body squirms for release. If I could, I would hibernate through winter like a bear in its den. They kind of go unconscious and just come back to life when the world does, right?
I so prefer the delight of spring with its bright bulbs poking through greening grass. The sting of summer's heat. Fall's eruption of color. In winter, death hangs about my yard, over my fence into the wild and even beyond. Brown everything everywhere except when the blur of snow sugars the ground in contrast. I resist winter's season of "ungrowth."
I rise to concoct a meal of time-consuming chili - from scratch. The onions sizzle in oil, the meat browns and the beans, tomatoes and spices are added to measure in the super-sized stove-top stew-pot. Cupping a bowl of warmth and nurture in my hands, I perch on the hearth with the fire at my back and am comforted.
Lifting my eyes to the window, I take in the white wonder before me. The sun kisses the few remaining grass stalks against the split rail fence that borders my yard. The sky's blue holds that same sun like a spotlight overhead, illuminating a see-through world.
I realize I can see more in winter. Vegetation translucently reveals its interior world, the seedpods of grasses backlit with spring's promise. Empty tree branches frame previously hidden mountain range views. As if caught in silhouette before a daylit window, the world draws my attention to details not seen in other seasons.
I remember a book I read nearly forty years ago. In an effort to come to grips with her eventual death, Virginia Stem Owens took her husband along with her to spend a winter in the Wind River region in Wyoming. There, she received the revelation offered in the dying season around her. She writes:
"The world does not die in one day. It must live through its dying, moment by moment, day by day, week by week. But at each of those moments, days, weeks, more of its essential self, its skeleton, is revealed ... And we too. As we die, our skeleton emerges, the bare bones of ourselves on which the soft, corruptible flesh has lain." *
As if in a mirror, I stare out to see what winter reflects of me. My world. My life. My death. My me. I consider that I may prefer the other more vibrant seasons because they are just that - vibrant. And alive. Winter reveals what comes, eventually, to all. All of nature. All of our world. All those I love. All of me.
Winter can be a season of revelation.
I can, indeed, see more in winter. If I have eyes to see.
Elisa Morgan is an author and speaker and the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her latest book, The Prayer Coin, was recently released. Her other books include The Beauty of Broken, Hello, Beauty Full, and She Did What She Could. Connect with Elisa @elisa_morgan on Twitter, and @elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.
* Wind River Winter (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, Judith Markham Books, 1987), p. 79.