13. Jan, 2019

Winter Lull

Today, during my daily walk I came across a robin twice.

The countryside was hushed in the greys and whites of winter. The sky was clear enough, with clouds that kept changing shapes all the time. I spotted a frog-cloud, and a heart cloud. The mountain facing my house was a huge silent body wrapped up in the seasonal slumber: the body of an asleep giantess dreaming.

As I observed the apple tree in my terrace garden, the robin hopped onto its lowest branches. I was surprised seeing twelve little red apples still hanging from the naked branches, resisting the frost.

I walked along the country path leading to the local fountain where in times of old village women used to collect water for their households.

On my way back, as I watched the ash-like colour of tree bark and mountain, I saw the robin again, perched on the slim bough of a small tree -- was it the same robin?  

In folklore, robin is about change and renewal, an omen of awakening and better times to come, beyond the winter season. It also brings a message of patience and resilience in the midst of the winter lull, in the very moment we feel restless, while surrounded by material and existential snow: a standstill or a pause in the flow of our lives. 

It can be winter inside even if outside nature is in blossom. It is not always easy to attune oneself to the seasonal rhythms: work demands and modern life conditions as well as our own inner cycles can make us feel out of synch.

It is key to pay attention to our inner rhythms, whether they are attuned to natural cycles or not.

Back home, I came across a poem called "White-Eyes" by Mary Oliver. In her words:

In winter
all the singing is in
the tops of the trees
where the wind-bird

with its white eyes
shoves and pushes
among the branches.
Like any of us

he wants to go to sleep,
but he's restless—
he has an idea,
and slowly it unfolds

from under his beating wings
as long as he stays awake.
But his big, round music, after all,
is too breathy to last.

So, it's over.
In the pine-crown
he makes his nest,
he's done all he can.

I don't know the name of this bird,
I only imagine his glittering beak
tucked in a white wing
while the clouds—

which he has summoned
from the north—
which he has taught
to be mild, and silent—

thicken, and begin to fall
into the world below
like stars, or the feathers
of some unimaginable bird

that loves us,
that is asleep now, and silent—
that has turned itself
into snow.

I closed the book, and my eyes, all my restlessness little by little coming to a halt, as I breathed and accepted the gift of Now, the only moment we can inhabit fully.