I was a young and vibrant tree in the spring.
Abounding with growth, beautiful and full of precious leaves and flowers that created an environment of life for all things.
My exhale giving life and love. My inhale rejuvenating me with each moment passing into summer.
I provided shelter and shade, space and care. A home.
Fall ascended after months of bloom and richness, each leaf gleaming in her magnificent hues.
True and simple beauty, shining, colorful.
As fall settled into its crispness the shift of winter was clear.
My leaves began to change and fall slowly with his approach. It was as if they knew instinctively.
Winter, he came boldly, with a ferocious wind full of fury.
Shocking and rattling against my unsuspecting branches.
He knocked away each pedal and leaf with a mocking smile of accomplishment.
Day by day, enduring his worst, my core rooted in the beautiful earth began wavering.
I stood questioning my strength, the ability to continue on as the pain radiated with the loss of each piece of me.
He blew through me with shards of ice on his breath leaving my sap oozing and instantly freezing my insides through the raw openings.
Winter was here, hell-bent on doing his worst.
He took the last of my leaves and branches and everything else that made me look like me, felt like me, created like me.
He took it all.
And when he was done inflicting his worst, he looked back with an angry last lash of hail and storm that I no longer had anything left of me to take.
Ravaged, beaten, barely surviving.
Alone now in the woods, I stood with all of what I once was ripped away, blown to pieces, nothing left even at my feet.
Nothing left but wounds and scars.
With his exit, I stood still, unsure of myself and how I could go on.
In that stillness of depth and solitude, I remained until slowly the warmth of the sun once again rose upon my bark, my face.
All of me bare and aching.
Daily, in its persistence and flowing light the sun bathed me in love again.
Breathe it in, trust it, let it in, a gentle reminder, “Believe in who you are, just hold steady, hold on.”
Suddenly, my branches felt a pulse and then expansion and once again growth.
I fixed my eyes on my beautiful branches that had withstood his wrath and through the corners of my swollen eyes I saw another tree. And then another.
We all had survived that winter.
I was not alone, we were not alone.
We had all survived.
As the weather shifted once again into spring, as it always does, I again became myself, new, evolved.
Each new leaf and beautiful bud proof of my resilience.
My fullness and wholeness grew and I remained
I returned to life stronger, better, grateful, alongside all of the other trees.
And, as my buds began to open into their full and glorious blooms, I learned I could survive the winters.