Bittersweet

The misty dawn blushed a soft, rosy pink, probably  embarrassed by the number of clichés it was inviting. It had begun with a delicate glow, suffusing the rising mist with gold as I shivered on the doorstep, then painted the world in pastel colours, as gentle as an apology. As the sun rose, the temperature plummeted, the swirling mists turned to fog and you could almost see the ice crystals forming. Another morning was born…

The sudden frost highlighted every detail of plants still resolutely green, each strand of spider silk and the edge of every fallen leaf. The ordinary became beautiful. Details that are overlooked a hundred times a day were limned in crystal and became unmissable… yet, but for necessity, I would have taken the option of comfort, stayed warm indoors and seen nothing. As I scraped the ice from the windscreen of the car, I was once again struck by how simple it is to learn the lessons of life by observing Nature at work. My own experience of the morning was one of frozen fingers and yet, the bitter frost served only to highlight a beauty that might otherwise have been missed.

Necessity and inevitability so often lead us into bitter and painful situations, but without them as a contrast, would we…could we…truly appreciate all that is right in our world? Would we notice a dawn if the sky always wore the colours of sunrise or do we need to experience darkness in order to understand the essence of light? Looking around too, I noted that while some plants were still green and would remain so in spite of the coming cold of winter, others were sere and brittle, giving every appearance of being mere skeletons of the vibrant life they once wore. Yet here too, Nature teaches, for beneath the soil, those brittle bones wait only for spring to grow once more… different in appearance, perhaps, but still essentially the same.

There was nothing new in those thoughts… no fanfare, no great revelation. It was no more than a gentle reminder, a reassurance that we are never called upon to make sense of this world and its upheavals on our own. There is always a teacher on our doorstep, always a deeper wisdom than our own, older and with experience of all that has ever been. It knows the tides of night and day, of winter and summer, freedom and necessity…and it is poised to teach us, every day. We do not always listen, we are wayward students and easily distracted, but the earth knows her children well and repeats her cycles, waiting for our chattering minds to quiet and allow us to understand. And when we do…when we listen… sometimes, it seems as if she smiles.

21 thoughts on “Bittersweet

  1. A lovely post Sue. I remember chilly mornings on the boat and walking up to the shower block. The cobwebs on the ropes, ice formations in the undergrowth, and Nature’s gems shining in the sunlight. I am more observant now than I ever was, as if I don’t want to miss a thing. I hear bird chatter in the trees or bushes and stop to watch in case I catch a glimpse of the robin, blackbird, tit or sparrow. Much to the amusement of many, I say hello to my feathered friends. It’s the same in the park. The water was frozen and the level has dropped, but two ducks were having problems getting to the seed, so Hubby broke up the ice with his stick to make a path for them.

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    1. I am missing my early walks with Ani at te moment. Living halfway up a long hill means walking her is not easy…and with the fields given over to railway construction, all her flatter walks are gone for now.

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  2. Beautiful post! Sigh – years ago, when I was engaged in planning out, shaping by hand and forming a huge 12 bed, garden, which had to be done, as quick as I could, after a loving relative paid the neighbor to come in and till up a vast portion of land (I was going to lasgna layer it) and all, I got to work to cram in at least 6 different ‘better options’ for bed formation, irrigation set up, etc., for beds exposed to drought, wind, bizzards, hail, etc. That was in the spring – – and one day, after I had just used a rake to shape and form the beds, make my walkways, slope them high on north side, give a little well at south side to ‘capture contain’ moisture run off, I was leaving for work very early after a late season hard frost had hit – – and there, RIGHT there in front of my eyes, I could clearly see where I needed to do less here, more there, I could see where my ‘eyeball it and try to shape’ efforts had left frost pockets, etc. Yes, Yes, in retrospect, I could have used a tape measure, used one style of bed, could have used a plumb bob or any of a hundred other inventions, but for me? I hadn’t even gotten to the point of setting out any seedlings yet – and Mother Nature beautifully, without me even asking her too, raised a finger and said, “Look! Look here! Here’s where you need to fix, improve, do better” thus, I decided, “I enjoy the work more when I just work and feel the land – instead of killing myself by trying to be perfect using measuring tools’ AND “She’ll show me what needs to happen, if I just wait and watch – ‘ Sorry for long comment, but this post reminded me of that – and re-kindled my desire to not try and rush things on that front – 🙂

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