Earlier in the week, it was World Prematurity Awareness Day. I didn’t write anything about it, mainly because I didn’t feel qualified. I don’t know anybody who is either grieving the loss of, or facing the daily challenge of raising, an infant or child born prematurely. I do know that such events cast long shadows over the lives that they touch.
You know the shadows that I’m talking about. When you take an afternoon walk, and your shadow looms like a giant before you. The tree overhead takes almost ghostly dimensions as the wind whistles through the branches and their shadows dance. And you know the sun is almost gone. That winter, and darkness is coming, and the cold will bite at your ears. The long shadows make small things big, and big things small. Because it is easy to look only at the shadows.
But there are only shadows because there is light. And even in the depth of winter, there is always hope. A different kind of hope. The hope that remembers the other kind of long shadows, the long shadows of spring, as the sun begins to rise again.
Yesterday, the long shadows were playing tricks on me. They reminded me of all the troubles yet to come. But today, I can celebrate the coming season. I can see the beauty in the long shadows, because they show me I am still moving. Things are still changing, life is still going on. And sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes it is a winter of the soul. But that’s alright. Because winter is a time for rest. It’s a time for warm soups and fireside chats, for reflection, and planning, and realising how strong you really are. So right now, I face some autumn storms, but soon, I will be hiding in my cabin, with my leek and potato soup.
And then one day, I will look out the window, and see long shadows again. And green buds on the trees. And I will know that a new season is beginning again.
That’s the trick with seasons. You need to know which one you’re in, and value it for what it is. And winter is so under-rated.