Meditations on an Inconspicuous December Day
â€œLet us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick fruit.â€ ~ Anton Chekhov, 1860 â€“ 1904, Russian Physician, Dramatist and Author
Hmmm, where in this gray December day is the flicker and the flame of inspiration?
Weâ€™re still two weeks away from winter solstice â€“ the time at which the sun appears at noon at its lowest altitudeabove the horizon. Or, in laymanâ€™s terms, the first official day of winter. But being impatient by nature, Iâ€™m already growing weary of the season.
In part, my early impatience is a reflection of the fact that old man winter seems reluctant to take hold. Weâ€™ve had only a slight dusting of snow once or twice. The dreary grays, washed out browns and muddy greens of November are still the hues that I see from out my window.
Chekhov nudges me a few shades in the right direction. Every day canâ€™t be glorious. If I can find some meaning in lackluster days like this, the glory days of spring and summer will be all the more delightful. Or to put it another way:
â€œTo be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.â€ ~ George Santayana, 1863 â€“ 1952, Philosopher, Essayist, Poet and Novelist
I can see the wisdom in this statement. It takes no effort to be hopelessly in love with spring. Every part of my being rises to that calling. But to answer the call of the changing seasons and find encouragement there is a more deep rooted form of happiness.
It is not an absence of colour that I see from out my window. Itâ€™s just a different palette. Muted shades and sober hues that speak a language I havenâ€™t yet learned to understand. I need to look deeper and listen more intently. Perhaps then I will discover that:
â€œSunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather; only different kinds of weather.â€ ~ John Ruskin, 1819 - 1900, Art Critic, Watercolourist, Social Thinker and Philanthropist
And yet, there is no spirit-stirring sunshine today nor refreshing rain to wash away the drab curtain of the sky. No gentle breeze to rustle the evergreens and no angel blanket of glittering white snow to soften the edges of barren trees.
There is more of absence than presence today in the weather. Halfway between here and there with no indication of arrival anytime soon. But perhaps that is its own message. I need to learn to be patient and see the graces of smoke curling and unfurling, waving like willow limbs, above the silent rooftops.
If I look long enough and with patience sufficient, I may come into the understanding that Aristotle possessed: In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.
In so many ways, more than I able to conceive, nature and its moods is a metaphor for the path we trace through life. Sometimes we soar amongst the clouds, sometimes we stumble amidst the stones. Now and then we retreat in confusion and, every so often, against our wishes, we fall out of rhythm. Wisdom is learning that every season of the soul has its purpose.
â€œNature always wears the colours of the spirit.â€ Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803 â€“ 1882, Essayist, Lecturer and Poet
~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of â€œUntil the Deep Water Stills â€“ An Internet-enhanced Novelâ€ â€“ double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michaelâ€™s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.comor the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.
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