Tides of Winter

The Meadow was vast and deep. Hills crested into valleys; and everything that was there belonged and was connected and intertwined: the animals, the trees, the flowers–all living through The Meadow, calling out with a collective sigh, all aware of summer’s end and winter’s untimely approach. The Meadow had visitors, always, whom were attracted by the soft beauty of its green pasture that cradled passersby as a mother cradles her child who is wanting of immediate protection from the world and her elements. So much changes in the time of summer’s end, so much will leave this pasture and never return; and those who return, with each passing year, will see how it changes; and will feel bitter at its beauty for never staying as it was. Time goes on, beauty fades, children leave, petals wilt–life moves merrily on regardless of those who wish to surrender to its current as it passes over them each year, like a wave, burying sand with sand.

“Why is it that I still stand? Why do you leave me here writhing in this torment?,” she shouted.

A voice responded to her cries in a soft tone, a tone of many summers, a tone of much wisdom.

            You are not going to die little one.

“Death, why do you torment me? I know that it is time. I feel it deep within me.”

No, young one, I am not death. I have been here for many years and will be here for many more. I have watched you grow and blossom. I was with you when your babes grew and left, just as I am with you now to help you through their departure.

“I miss them terribly.”

Your children must be allowed to blossom just as you were. They will always be with you. They share the same soil; they thrive in the same ground. They are a part of you and will never forget you or your love. Each time the wind shifts in their direction, they feel your kiss float towards them. They know that you are always with them.

Just as the voice paused, a wind blew and she willingly offered a kiss to the wind so that it might carry the kiss from her lips to her babes. She wanted them never to forget her, never to forget how much she loved them. How much she wished that she never had to let them go. However, she knew that what she did was right, she began to feel her tears recede, for she had to let them go–if they stayed one moment longer they surely would have choked and died from her constant embrace that willed them to stay small forever: never to grow up, never to leave. Had they stayed, she too might have choked and died. No. They had to go, there was no other way–they were ready and so was she–though not in spirit.

“I understand. They are pursuing everything that they should–but now I have less to live for. Perhaps it is better that I leave this world.”

You will not die; your journey has only just begun. The pangs you feel in your heart are the fleeting moments of summer. It leaves us longing for its warmth and love–it must go though. Nothing lasts forever.

“So what am I to do? Summer is all I know, summer is what I love. Summer is the moments that I’ll never forget, the moments with my children laughing and sleeping against me when the air was crisp with the briskness of night. They used to fall into a deep slumber against my bosom and took their breaths against me in slow rhythmic tones with that lightness of air and soft crackle that only a sleeping child can exude.”

We must thank the season for giving us these moments, moments that we will revel in the memory of when winter grasps us. Soon, our leaves and petals will fall and they too are afraid; and when we fall, which we will, we will fall with grace and will feel ourselves begin to soar towards what lies beyond in our future.

“Why must we be forced to endure this pain?

We endure because we can endure. It is through our pain that we obtain a greater understanding. We, all of us, will never cease to be curious about life and its inner workings for we are a part of it! Yes, young one, summer has been our time to revel in our rebirth; but now we must move and grow towards the sun.

The wind blew again, this time in the opposite direction, and this time she felt them too.

“I think this feeling that I feel isn’t death, it can’t be for there are still so many more summers to be had; and if it isn’t death, then it must be life! We might change as time goes on; but nothing is forever, and summer will come again one day. And though it leaves us now, we are still to live; and I’m ready, I’m ready.”

The Meadow lamented, the leaves, they changed and fell and nothing was the same as they set the Meadow on fire with their oranges, reds, and yellow. The frost came and welcomed winter with open arms and transformed The Meadow into a sea of snow and ice. There was no movement, not even the slight creaking of the now-empty branches. As the snow began to melt, first around the trees, and then throughout the valleys, crests, and plateaus, a small bud began to protrude from the base of an old oak. It was the first thaw that the bud would ever see in its young life and it marveled at everything it saw around it. The young bud blossomed–just as his mother had before him–and he stood tall and took his first breath in harmony with the constant rise and fall of The Meadow.

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