A Forest Prayer

… some of us live for years or decades without seeing ourselves naked and unembellished, without knowing the contours of our own soul.

In the days of early March, the forest stands naked and dark, as if someone has drawn the trees with a piece of charcoal. I catch myself longing for the days of exuberant, vivid colors, wistfully remembering fall foliage. It seems that every tree is a candle: it used to burn with a brilliant flame — but today the candle stands cold and charred, its flame extinguished long ago.

And yet, as this forest is stripped of adornment, a different, higher beauty reveals itself.

It’s a beauty of nakedness, transparency, and clarity. With leaves and colors gone, the forest contours and stark tree forms step out of hiding. The true shape, the core, the heart of the forest shines through.

And so it is with seasons of our lives and of our hearts: we can also experience lavish greenery, followed by the blinding colors of the foliage.

But then, some of us live for years or decades without seeing ourselves naked and unembellished, without knowing the contours of our own soul.

. . . And I close my eyes and whisper: Thank you Creator for allowing us into this wide and clear sanctuary of your late winter forest. Thank you for letting us witness the deep mystery of your changing seasons, and see the essence of things as you created them. Please allow us to be as your trees, let us shed our leaves and become full of light internal as you intended when you drew us. Amen.

This meditation was originally published on the National Cathedral site.