They’ve been still for much of the process so far, as pieces of the garments they’ve known slipped quietly to the floor. It’s almost as though they didn’t notice they were dying. But the moment has come: they know. And they grieve, as sharp rains lash their newly naked forms, as our backyard river laps sullen and gray at their chilled knees.
They endure this every year, this death of what was to make space for what will be, this slow, solemn exhale. And yet every year it still seems painful for them somehow, to lose so much of their recognizable form, to see their beauty strewn across the ground– to feel exposed.
I want to tell them I understand. I want to tell them there is a poignant, stark grace in their stripped-away forms, the lines of their empty arms reaching for the sky. I want to remind them that next year’s coat is coming, but for now there is no dishonor in bearing frost instead of flowers– both are needed in their time. Yes, I want to stand beside them, feel the chill with them, and tell them all these things I am learning myself.
For after all, so many of us are in these seasons, this stripping away, bent between raging at the sky and somber, accepting stillness. So many of us know what it is to lose what we thought made us noteworthy– and so many of us now stand exposed.
But redemption throbs its pulse beneath every frost. Autumn hearts become winter hearts, all clear lines and the nebulous honesty of potential. And then… and then. New life realized.
I’ll stand by my backyard trees and breathe out with them. We will weather this winter together.