Mid-winter blahs. I realize one morning that for some time I haven’t been very attentive to the mysteries of life inside and outside my windows. “But what’s to see?” I ask myself, weary of the sometime snow, the sometime shabby brown grass, and the always winter-drab trees. And then I see them.
Strong and tall. The shadows of my backyard trees stretch through my neighbor’s lawn, creep up his house and dance their limbs atop his roof. Bold and stark and inky in their blackness; yet not the least bit sinister, they weave their way across the grass and fling the artful patterns of their branches here and there and almost everywhere that I can see. So stately proud these mighty shadow trees! Yet quietly they bow to winter sun, tilting first to west in early morning, then to north about midday, and finally to east as parting sun murmurs its blessing for another day.
Tomorrow there may be no winter sun; the shadows then will fold in on themselves, and nestled deep inside each tree, they’ll patient wait for sun to call them once again to paint their deep, dark patterns that will slice the grass, the snow, the ice—but always gently, always quietly, always without fanfare, always simply there, guests of the sun beneath the vast-arched sky that kindly wraps them soft beneath its ancient gaze. A sky that wraps us too. A sky that holds the hope that every mark and shadow that we cast will be as firm and bold, as gentle and as quiet, as playful, as artistic, as the shadows of those trees.