Bare Branches

Top two photos taken at Greenlake in Seattle, bottom four on Granville Island in Vancouver

I find winter trees achingly beautiful, even more so this winter than any previous one I can remember. I see the black branches spread across the darkening sky and my heart swells with longing, as though there is something in the meeting of essence and horizon that speaks to a part of me that has gone unnamed thus far. Only questions rise up asking me to live into them:

What is my essence? When everything is stripped away, who am I beneath all the roles I play? What is the horizon against which I stand? What is the sacred skyscape of dreams and vision, stories and wisdom that pulses within and through me? Will I allow myself to be both undone and embraced?

-Christine Valters Paintner

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5 Responses

  1. Yes, yes, yes….to all that you say about the bare branches. Such emotion within elements and aspects of nature as figures in our minds, our poetry, our art….speaking and singing of our human yearnings and desires.

    What is my pure, bare essense? A good question to think upon….I am complex…it might take awhile!

    Thanks for sharing the beauty.

    Peace and hugs.

  2. Hi Lisa, sometimes just living into the questions is answer enough, a practice of living into Mystery.

    Suz, I understand what you mean about illness, while it can be terrible, it also can have a focusing effect. I know being present to my own experiences with illness have also brought me many gifts I might not have otherwise received. I’d still love to be rid of the pain though.

  3. I, too, love the dark branches against the twilight sky. There are many trees here in Minnesota so we don’t see it often. In South Dakota there was such beauty with that expanse of prairie…I miss that.

    Illness certainly strips you and makes you come undone. I remember hitting a terrible void and then…all of a sudden…it was like…YES, I am all here! What was really me hadn’t gone away.

    A friend told me the other day that I missed so much when I was sick. I tried to explain that I gained a lot…I learn how to enjoy my inner life and I learned how to get very still. I really don’t think that would have happened with the fast pace I was living.

  4. Beautiful. I have been noticing more the beauty of the branches against the twilight sky. Now when I notice them next, these questions will be sure to flood into my thoughts. I will try hard not to sweat not having the answers. Thank you.

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