The land that surrounds my house is lined with trees. We sit in the center of a large circle of cedars, oaks, and dogwoods to name a few. When in bloom they obscure everything beyond the sight of their trunk. From the porch on my house I can stare into the varied shades of green which greet me, sunlight playing softly a tune that rustles with the wind. It is an alone sort of feeling. It is a private and secluded season.
When it is summer the hot air blows mindlessly over the browning grass until days of rain summon it to health again. I feel as though I could do or say anything. Perhaps it is my inner hermit which loves this separation from the outside world. The spring and the summer bring the warmth and the seclusion.
In the fall the leaves drop their cover and reveal us. We see the lights of a neighboring farm for the first time in months. The air chills and we pull on more clothing to keep us warm. I hold my sides tightly to brace for the coming cold.
When it is winter we are exposed, completely. We see cars drive out of the valley and up the road we forget exists while our trees are protecting us with their wrappings. We can see but more than that, we can be seen.
It is a hard lesson the first time we understand that what we do in the dark is revealed when the sun rises. It is a hard lesson to remember in the summer, under the sun’s warm guard and the clutter of tree burst that we are still accountable, that we are still seen, that we are still vulnerable. It is then that we remember that we are needed, we are valued, we are important, we are necessary.
We are winter people, here in the valley. We make ourselves known when we risk the cold that may yet come. We make ourselves vulnerable when we come out of hiding and present ourselves wholly before the world. While the summer spent basking in the sun is sweet the ability to stay concealed behind cover that is not ours to own is temporary. As the cycle continues, and it does continue…our cover lay crumbling beneath us, giving voice to footsteps, a warning of strangers approaching.
In the winter we let go our protection when seemingly we may need it more than ever. We let fall our leaves. We lay bare our faces and look out through the trees in the hope that we will see and we will be seen. Yes, we are indeed Winter People here in the vale…not by nature perhaps but at the very least by experience.