STRIDING ALONG to the barber’s shop today an (albeit fleeting) blue sky was doubtless part-responsible for the spring in my step and more smiling pedestrians than I’ve seen in a while. It has been a long winter. And I’ve been thinking of one of Parker Palmer’s great poems again – The Winter Woods (see Living the Questions, page 11)

There’s always more than one way to look at someone, something, or some situation, Palmer says:

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.

Palmer speaks of water’s “shimmering”, and of the world “hard frozen now and winter dead”, but of imagination’s sight, too, in heart and in head.

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.

Today I think of this past winter’s frost, of ice and cold tilling the ground, breaking open hard “soil”, that whatever life plants there may come to thrive and blossom, grow and flourish. One way of looking at long and cold “winters” is that they pave the way to blue skies and blossoming (especially glorious here in Bramhall) and into new life’s “springs”.

More Parker Palmer? Treat yourself to Living the Questions. And after that, there’s more!

One thought on “WINTER WOODS

  1. I had the same thoughts this morning when I heard the birdsong whilst walking to the office from the car park.

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