I’m in a place in winter where I ride the tension between what is and what will be. It’s a fine line. My body reacts by getting antsy to be outside free of layers to shelter against the cold, to be not only generating warmth but surrounded by it. As it is, I feel within me the urge to be the spring before the Spring, to generate that fire of creation within me that is met – in time – by the fire without. I can feel the discomfort of holding both exhilaration and unrest. The urge to both be, and to become.

Mornings are a beautiful time for me and my husband to connect and catch up as we take an early walk with our pup around the neighborhood, under the cloak of quiet and stillness of Mother Nature. Because we talk and laugh, our time is mostly a shared external experience. I try to tap in internally, to ground, but as I’m still mostly waking up while finding movement and words, my attention is occupied and I don’t always show up with the presence I want to for her, the Great Mother, to appreciate the day that is her sacred offering, the pure potential that rests in the womb of dark before dawn.

A bit later, once upon a silent house, I take a moment to slip out the kitchen door onto the deck overlooking the domestic wilderness of our backyard. It is here that I face east, focus on my breath and welcome the day. Standing outside on the deck feels like a sanctuary. Like I have an engraved invitation to preside over sunrise, to play in the treetops with the squirrels, and to wave mutual hello to whatever winged friends happen by. It is an anchor, a set point, regardless of weather, to stand in what is and admire it, gather it in, and give thanks for it no matter what shows up or what my experience of it and judgment of it might be.

When we moved into this house nearly a decade ago, we encountered an albino squirrel. First, it was elsewhere in the neighborhood. Not long after, it would show up to our feeder. Then a couple. Then babies. For a while – a couple of years – there were many. And then they were gone. This morning, as I stand on the deck jacketless in my husband’s blue Crocs that crunch on the crust of yesterday’s now frozen snowmelt, I see a white squirrel bounding through the trees, branch to branch, trunk to trunk. It feels like a harbinger. Like the return of my words and the desire to dance with them earlier this week. I settle more deeply into this feeling of full circle, of seasons. A season in Nature, a season in myself.

Perhaps, I wonder already knowing the answer. Perhaps it is the same thing.

I can swear I feel warmth in the cold. Just a hint. Just a taste. Whether that comes from me or from the Mother herself, I’m not sure. But I note it. I give thanks. I trust that while I’m able to be present to my cold cherub cheeks and the bare trees, their branches reaching towards transparent cotton clouds, I know this won’t last forever.

Late February begins thoughts of what’s to come. There have been years I’ve been enjoying my lunch on the deck midday in March. That’s not too long from now. And the reality is that now is now. The snow, the cold, the stillness, the bare branches. All now. But I can do both. Hold both. Appreciate both what is and the possibility of a different kind of magic right around the corner.

I notice all of this as I face east and make my offering to the day – three sun salutations. I sweep my arms up overhead, bow forward in supplication to the majesty of the moment, half look up with a flat back, fold in once more, sprout from my roots sweeping my branches up to the sky reaching like the trees, and bring my prayerful hands together to rest at my heart.

I smile. I breathe. I begin again.

Inhale, sweep my arms up. Exhale, fold forward into a little death in honor of the many little deaths we experience each day. Inhale, hands on shins half look up, like a turtle peeking its head out of its shell to take in its surroundings. Exhale, surrender to patience and right timing and trust. Inhale, unfurling, my arms once again to the sky springing forth with new life. Exhale, hands in prayer lower to my heart in gratitude for this moment. For this life. For this representation of death all around me and how it feels through my roots and my branches, to hold the reality of both life and death within me.

Once again, I move mindfully through the motions, plugging into my relationship with the earth, the sky, with intention to live fully this day. Inhale. Exhale. Life. Death. One cycle after the next. With love, with reverence, with the renewed awareness that each one of us, at our core, is a sacred being of Nature, our time in her presence but a mirror of our soul.

Suddenly, a hawk. Good morning, I whisper. It sails through the trees of this wood that I am entrusted with, that I am fortunate to steward and witness, a spiritual playground that I delight in that also witnesses me.//