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The November Tree (A winter reflection)

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

To make sense of life and understand my feelings in times of perceived restriction, I often look to nature. These days, it is the tree.

I will be still now and listen for signs, from you.


You stand there motionless, stripped of colour, wet, damp, bare, with crooked limbs stretched in all directions, naked. What age are you? Thirty? Forty? My age?


You look nothing like you do when you are full of luscious leaves, glossy, abundant, full of multiple shades of green, like the new in-season best Sunday outfit. You are just naked, (pause) I can see right through you.


Oh wait, now I see.

I see your stature, the length of your outstretched limbs, how the wind, sun and rain and weaved their way through your body, pushing and pulling you in all directions. I see your elegance, your patience, your empathy, your humble frame standing in all its glory, open for me to see where you offer me a new clarity, a new vision, as your limbs reach outwards and upwards. Your transparency gives everything around you a new frame, a new possibility. And yet, all the while inside you are preparing for new buds that cannot yet be seen, are not visible.

I too, can stand still, remove for a while the many masks I wear outside my home. I can be still by the hearth, like you, quiet. I can let the tears of the season flow, cleansing my expectations of myself and the world.

In your nakedness there is the reassurance that Spring will come. For now, you reveal your core, your essence, allowing the light of the sun to shine on and through every inch of you, where new possibilities can reveal themselves. I can feel the rays and warmth of the winter sun as it shines through your branches, right through you reaching me. Your surrounding landscape now looks different, there is more to be seen. I too, can allow myself to be seen. I can feel and understand the aches and longings of this time. I allow myself to see me.

In your stillness, you are preparing for days ahead. Your nourishment for now, is focused inwards. You cannot yet know how many buds will come into blossom, wrapping themselves around you, touching you, caressing you with the gentle breeze of a Spring morning. For now, it is the wind and the winter sun that touches you. I too, can wait, knowing that I will once more, touch, hug and hold my family, my kin. Until then, I can feel the wind caress my neck, let my body feel the tingling of the morning dew on my bare feet, and let the warm winter sun soothe the stress from my face.

I thank you, The November Tree.

© Cli Donnellan18th November, 2020


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