“Nature looks ahead, and makes ready for the new season in the midst of the old. . . The present season is always the mother of the next.”
~John Burroughs, Ways of Nature
The wonderful refreshing rains have returned to our thirsty land. The pasturelands are greening; the streams are flowing and lakes are filling. Snow is falling in the mountains that await the February cabin trip by the icy rivers.
I am always grateful for the change of seasons, when the months of contrasts arrive in their annual visit colorfully clothed in dark and light, cold and warm, silence and song, death and life.
When the first sky-waterfalls begin, the sound holds my attention, even when it’s mostly the water pouring down the spouts at night. There’s a calming and a reassuring sense that the birds, the coyotes, the insects and the land are breathing relief at the taste of liquid life.
My Christmas birthday has changed over the years. More accurately, it changes every year. Last year Carol and I surprised our friends Todd and Judy in the City, arriving at their annual morning brunch to a houseful of hugs and good cheer.
Leaving the festivities we got stuck in terrible touristy traffic. I was missing my treeclimb, so we got out of the holiday headache and walked Golden Gate Park for a bit where I found a short olive to “climb.”
A few days later I was able to go just a few feet higher in an oak in a local state park.
This year we’ll be in the coastal hills for “the day,” among the redwoods and fir. Between now and then I’ll find a “climber” to be my Christmas Tree.
I’m climbing around some new reasons to enjoy the season this year. The family seems to be smiling more; good people are connecting; my classes are really very fun to teach; I’m re-reading some good books (Steinbeck, Thomas Paine, Burroughs) and many more birds and species are gathering in the fields and ponds.
I hope this season of natural beauty gives you many presents. One gift is good enough. Life itself.
*This little reflection was just published on Patheos: Climbing (not cutting) a Christmas Tree