I first laid eyes on her in the spring.
Strong as a young oak, yet as lithe as a willow, she moved lightly through the forest. And where her feet passed new growth sprung forth from the ground to greet and revel in her coming.
These were light days, filled with all the promise of new life. Every moment a story-each day is a song to be passed down through the ages. It was with some reverence that I followed at a distance, not wanting to disturb her, and yet longing only to be near her.
Summer followed and a golden light surrounded her. It was a thing to behold – her, dancing lightly along the path, talking to each flower, shrub and tree along the way, as birds trilled happily while perched in her hair. As the sun wore on, her seeds were carefully harvested; and I watched as she gently, and willing, placed her offspring into the waiting hands of others. What selfless act would any parent do for the good of their young?
And I came to love her.
Autumn followed with summer's green turning to shades of red and gold. And there was a fire which shone out from her and drew me in, breathless and willing. I now had mustered the courage to walk close at her side. She seemed to welcome my companionship as easily as she did the beasts and trees of the forest.
Some nights, we simply sat and chatted about life and love while sipping a cup of tea and munching on a few freshly baked cookies. And I came to know even more about her.
Leaves had long fallen to the ground, a soft blanket of snow now covering the path on which she walks. Her hair, which was once as golden as the sun, now streaked with silver. She moves slower now and talks no more of bearing fruit so much as she does the lessening of days. My time with her is now drawing to its close. Each passing hour seems more precious to me, so I linger here in a world turning cold and gray; and listen all the closer for the sound of her footfalls and her voice raised in song. She is saddened by the ending to come; yet, at the same time, there seems a joy about her as she looks to the next step in her life.
To all things there is a season
This we all know; and yet I wonder how many of us realize the season of our own lives. Born to the joys of springtime, we rush giddily towards the summer sun; and, for a time, we dance on paths baked warm, or seek the refreshing shade of a willow. We give little thought to what lies beyond the season at hand until, with sudden effusion, the world about turns to shades of red, gold and brown – and a shifting wind blows the leaves sending them dancing eagerly around our feet.
But this is all good, for there are many things to do in the autumn woods. There are apples to pick, pumpkins to carve, and evenings before a roaring fire sipping hot cider and telling tales. But, what was a year of seasons for us may be a lifetime for her.
Gone are the movements light and airy. Where once she rustled soft as a whisper on the wind, she now may creak and rattle like an old buggy. Her silvery tresses cascade down around her. At times, looking at her through eyes that love her, I can almost see a halo surrounding her form; a light which touches and effects all who draw near, warming and calming those few who sit with her in these precious days.
For me at least, my life will renew.
My ship stands ready at hand to carry me and family to other lands. There I may arise one morning to once again follow the sun seeking new adventure. Perhaps, one day, in some distant land, I will have the joy of seeing one of her young. And, if permitted to draw close, I will regale them with tales of the one who bore them.
The long years of my life are stretched out before me, leading me away from the place where once she and I walked in silent reverence of all that was good and alive around us. What she made here, what she leaves behind, may or may not endure. All things pass in their time, be they rock or stone, tree or twig, human or Ghille Dhu; but she kindled a fire beneath this land which will warm the roots of all things planted here. And future generations will plant new seeds, and life will begin anew.
My springtime awaits me beyond the gray curtain.
And I look to each day I am given with her as more precious than ever I did. She has changed me in ways I cannot explain. And I do hope that in some small way, I had some effect on her. Someday soon, I will board my craft and raising sails, steer my boat towards the new horizon. But the hours are few and dear now – tomorrow can wait.
For me, I just wish to spend a few more days walking in winter woods.