The approach to Christmas is an interesting period. It often seems to me that we are taken out of the ordinary moments in life and placed in a special flow of time in late December. Nature is part of this flow for me. Many of its features are hidden at this time of year, biding their time until spring appears. Even in winter, however, nature is active in some form where I live.
After a long period of rain, the last few days in my part of the world have been sunny and cold. I live in a part of British Columbia that receives mild winters. We often get some snow during the season, but it doesn’t last for long. Some plants are dormant at this time of year and bare trees can be seen, but evergreens provide greenery. We can even see a few flowers in winter. We also have an interesting population of birds that spend the season here.
Observing the natural world has been an important part of my life since childhood. I am well aware that nature isn’t always benign. Humans and other life on Earth may experience tragedies due to the activities of nature (using the term in its widest sense). In my prose poem–or simply a prose passage, depending on the reader’s interpretation–I focus on the positive. Christmas seems an appropriate time to do this.
Nature in Late December
The full moon soothes the soul after the stormy day. Leaves glisten and highlight the darkness as moonlight caresses them. Christmas is one week and one day away. It’s a time to welcome the One in whatever form resonates within us. Now is a chance to find the luminous in the sky and in our hearts.
Today the sun moves low in the sky, radiant and undeterred. Earth travels on as the planet follows nature’s seemingly immutable laws. The crunch of frosty leaves beneath my feet reminds me that it’s winter, but their sparkle and frost-rimmed edges cheer me. Evergreens tell the story of continued life, and catkins grow fuller every day. Scattered flowers are a promise of the colourful bounty to come.
The call of a red-shafted flicker pierces the cold silence. Two crows and a lone gull patrol the road and its verge for food. I see the mallard pair at the creek for the first time this winter. The male is resplendent, the female a worthy sight even without the vivid colours of the male. At home, a pair of black-capped chickadees explore the bare branches of the walnut tree. My dog raises his head and sniffs the air as though he senses something unusual…or perhaps something special. Nature is active and ready.