What Winter Teaches Us About Death
There is so much awe to be felt when you walk through the misty grey world of winter. The snow seems to endure each step we take in it. As someone much used to the abuse of its beauty, it willingly allows you to scar it with your foot holes and mud.
It doesn’t call to us in a voice like grass, it simply lies where it lies and lets you come if you come. Each snowflake is made perfect and impossibly beautiful, yet it never loses sight of its own imminent death. It is as if an artist is painting the most beautiful paintings that anyone has seen and then hurling it immediately into the fire, as it melts quickly on your cheek.
The cold is so shocking and easy to hate! Yet we must see that it acts as a renewal of our experience of warmth. Everything about winter cleanses the pallets that we may feel each sense as if it were occurring for the first time.
Especially the extreme Ontario winters.
The cold and grey is so engrossing and lasts so long that everyone has truly begun to forget what warmth and grass feels like. But then, when it comes we will all be young again in our experience of it, and even more delighted in the birth of the wonderful living green.
I see that winter is death.
And that in our discomfort of it we may find our discomfort with the very idea of death. I may resent the frozen ground for taking away my rose bush, yet would an infinite number of roses satisfy me? Or give me cavities from the over sweetness of it? In the summer we cling to every beauty (I certainly do), getting desperate with our days holding them tighter so that they may not escape from us.Yet of course we are not to have power such as that, because we do not know what should be immortal so we would keep everything and then be left in a very cluttered world.
Very often what we hold tightest is taken first, and we are sometimes left gasping and stumbling as if starved.
Winter is such for me. I have lost my plants! How can I live? Yet each time that it is pulled from my grasp I am being conditioned and taught that it is not the plants or sunsets that I am to cling to. They do not define my season. I do not die with them.
This shows me that while my passion is certainly in nature, this passion is but a wonderful gift on top of the true passion and life of my soul-my connection and love with the human spirit.
While I think it is important to remember that we ARE of this world and certainly in it, it is also good to be reminded that there is an even deeper connection with humans. We can communicate, understand, connect and experience each other as nothing else really can! While we are all apart of the oneness, we can’t lose sight of the fact that humans are even more ONE they’re so one they’re beyond the one-they’re zeros.
It takes much less effort to tell a friend how I feel then to try and get a bird to understand. We very often forget this. I like to think of the oneness in terms of me and the natural world. As though each human has a separate oneness, and I spend my time connecting with “things”, and ignore the humans. But really this is ignoring the whole point.
Today it will have been a year since my friend passed away. A beautiful, intricate boy who was so complexly created yet only sparkled and spun in the cold air for a short afternoon flurry before he too melted on the cheek of the world.
I suppose now would be a good time to learn a lesson from snowflakes, from their peace with their mortality. I too will melt someday, as will everything I know. I cannot heal something from a disease that I myself have. We are all infected with death, and that’s alright. We can accept it, and let it loosen our grip.
We can let death give us peace and relaxation. We don’t have to desperately cling to anything because time is out of our control. That lack of control is a huge relief! I cannot do anything to prevent death which means that I can stop exerting my will in an attempt to control life.
Talking about death in this way usually makes people uncomfortable, but I hope you will understand the peace and joy in it rather than seeing it as morbid. We CAN say, “Phew, we’re all going to die. I’m going to die someday,” without it coming from a lack of love for life or those people in it, rather it just brings wonderful perspective and a reminder that we do not control every bit of our lives (which is a scary thought when we see ourselves making bad decisions/see how little we know).
Last winter about this time I found the quote,
”In the depths of winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
This winter it means something different to me though. While I think I am discovering it, I don’t think that summer is meant as the opposite of winter. Just as life and death are not opposites-rather two partners in a tango. I picture them taking turns dramatically splaying their arms to bring attention to and show off the beauty of the other. Just as the sun gladly leaves the stage out of love for the moon.
So connect with people! Release your grip on that which you are afraid to lose, and feel joy in the fact that your only job is to enjoy your journey, as you drift and swirl in the wind of your life.
This was taken from the first version of the my original blog site, Shelp. It was originally published on Monday, February 10th, 2014 at 12:18 am.