A symphony of Mother Nature's winter bounty

December 24, 2011

It’s quiet now. There is a pause right before a major holiday, especially one that we prepare for so far in advance. Like a flower at its peak opening, the calendar is telling us, it is finally here.

Whether you consider this a religious event or have a spiritual bent to a different being, the call to take a deep breath can be heard near and far and will be taken by many weary souls along different paths.

The stillness is like the narrator in Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” wondering about the quiet scenery and snow-covered woods. It’s momentary and then he moves on.

I took a walk up to the point at Cape Henlopen State Park to find this stillness and to reflect upon a world that could easily be described as divided and difficult.

Here was a symphony of Mother Nature’s winter bounty. The sea grasses swayed back and forth, holding onto a few leftover flakes of snow. Some were bent like ballerinas performing basic exercises in front of their workout bars. Others stood high, as if peeking on tiptoes over the smooth sand dunes. In any case, they seemed to love their winter array, hugging the ground and reaching to the sky.

I could look out at another majestic part of this symphony - the lighthouse, bathed in a festive burnt sienna coat. The sun was low enough so that it slanted to cast a shadow that defined one side of the bronze lighthouse, like a sharp scar angled right down to its skirt of round, pale, sandy rocks. It stood proud against the steel-gray water, never paying it any mind. It too seemed to love the opportunity to show off its winter array.

It is a good time to reflect on our souls or inner beings. I think Toni Morrison, the author, said it best in a speech, “There is a certain kind of peace that is not merely the absence of war. It is larger than that. The peace I am thinking of is not at the mercy of history’s rule, nor is it a passive surrender of the status quo. The peace I am thinking of is the dance of an open mind when it engages another equally open one…”

She is talking about a dialogue, in a nutshell, the ability to be tolerant of others. That is the message we can all take away from inhaling the scenario nature presents before us this holiday season. There are those who have nothing to celebrate on this eve and this day. Life seems bleak and their needs go wanting. They too have families that feel the daily struggle just to keep their heads above water.

But one thing I can find in the stillness that I see before me. And that is this is a generous country. Regardless of how some citizens and even other countries may perceive us, what they don’t realize is that we are a nation of givers.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, have opened their wallets and hearts to aid their countrymen this holiday season.

Most of the givers hand it over willingly and don’t demand any sort of recognition. The checks may be small, the outstretched hand may be a group effort, but eventually they get the job done and make a dent in someone else’s life.

So let’s celebrate ourselves every day in the peace and rest we find in Mother Nature. It is a message of patience and tolerance. You will know it and I will know it. That’s all that counts. And so I wish you a wonderful Christmas and a joyous new year to come. And leave you with my favorite poem by Robert Frost:

“Whose woods these are I think I know, his house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here to watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer to stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake the darkest of evening of the year,
He gives his harness bells a shake, to ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.