I just got back from walking around my parents’ neighborhood pond in the south Chicago suburbs. My son was squeaking the way he does at a baby gosling while I surveyed the dead reeds and grasses. I’m really drawn to “dead” nature. Almost like I want to reassure it that it has a place in the world, despite it’s flaky brownness. That is was once thriving and alive and still deserves the respect of being admired. I haven’t always given stagnant nature this much thought or attention. And so I’ve been asking myself when I started being drawn by winter reeds with nothing obvious to offer.
Maybe it’s when I learned how to really see things rather than checking them off lists. Thats been the last few years. Or it might be when I found myself in “reed in winter” types of places. Like when I left a 13 year career to attend to little people who needed a lot of attending. Or when I struggled to see my value as an infertile woman. Or the month God knocked me unconscious with the awareness that I am NOT in control after all. All of these times have contributed to my inclination to look for beauty in unlikely places. Because it was either that or get buried in it all.
I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t felt like a winter reed. It can be a depressing, lonely and hopeless space to occupy. We can feel like we have nothing to offer or contribute. And in turn we compare our state with others who appear to be blooming. In the midst of the winter seasons, blooming isn’t obvious or possible so often. What I’ve come to understand through winter seasons in my own journey is how necessary they are. Brutal and necessary. And how stunning our reeds are when we take the time to really admire where they’ve been, what they’re endured and how tall they stand in their brown, flaky state.
There’s life waiting to peek out where the reeds stem from, but if we wait to see that glimmer of green before we admire the process, we’re missing out on half the life of that beautiful reed.