Winters Tale

They once said surviving the winter in Iowa would be difficult for me. Six winters later, I would highly recommend you to move to the midwest or to a cold place where winters are harsh. A good winter teaches you about the one thing in life that we seldom forget about, a hardship, tragedy or difficult phase will always be followed by a better time, a time for celebrating.

A tree knows about that the best. Every autumn it kick starts its genes and decides to shed its leaves, shut down its pores, warm up on the inside and hibernate. I used to spend a lot of time smoking cigarettes underneath a pine tree in the harsh winters of Iowa during my graduate training. Being a plant biologist I would just stare at the tree standing amidst the frozen extreme trying to understand this behemoth that was not dead, but just abiding its time. In darker times, this tree became a friend, helping me find my inner light in the darkness of the short winter days. If i listened careful enough, the tree was breathing still, waiting for spring. Aren’t we all like that, or at least wish we were. When going through a hard time, if only we could keep our head down and keep breathing, knowing that spring would come, eventually.

And when spring does arrive, a tree celebrates. By putting forth new branches, trying to embrace the blue skies and sprouting forth flowers of unmatched diversity and perfumes. Its like the soul of a tree comes forth and shouts out in a way that only an artist would understand when he or she creates that masterpiece after years of dilapidated despair in their studio. And people go about getting back to starting their seedlings for the vegetable garden, rabbits jump around and little insects start chirping and fiddling in their wonderlands.

And that my friends, is why you should live in a cold place. The winter strips you, makes you find what you miss in life, the warmth of a good summers day but yet keeps you looking forward to that spring of happiness. It makes you work and keep going, so that you can enjoy that explosion of life all over again. To acknowledge the dark and the cold and to respect it, is natural. To celebrate its end is natural. To prepare for it again, and be ready for it is natural. Breathe like a tree, meditate like a tree and celebrate like a tree when the winters come and go.

Winters, you see are a lovely thing.

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