Trees in Winter

Trees in Winter

For me, one of the joys of living in Blewbury is the Nature all around us - the birds, the hedgerows, the fields, the trees, the squirrels, and yes, even the Muntjac! I am aware that opinion is divided about the Muntjac, and I will admit that at times I have been known to refer to them as “destructive little critters”, but even the Muntjac have their charm.

My two favourite seasons of the year in the village are Spring and Autumn. In the Spring, I look forward to seeing the trees come into leaf (especially the Beech trees), and in the Autumn, I enjoy the changing colours of the leaves and their gradual fall from the branches. The loss of a tree’s leaves reveals its underlying structure of trunk and branches, and there can be something very beautiful about seeing the network of trunk and branches against a Winter sky.

For me, there is something profoundly spiritual about a tree in Winter. Our modern world encourages to be on the go continually. It suggests that down time is somehow a luxury, which has to be earned.  We are often under pressure to prove our worth through lots of activity, and you might be interested to learn that clergy are not immune from this pressure to be busy. If a clergy person goes for a job in another parish, the typical question is: Well, what have done in your last parish? What have you achieved? But I think a better question would be: How have you learned to rest in God’s love? How have you modelled a way of being which isn’t dependent on frantic busyness?

Which brings us back to the trees in Winter. I like to think that the trees are giving themselves a rest, giving themselves time to be. They are aware that here in this place there are four seasons a year, and that’s how it is.

Could we human beings learn a thing or two from trees in Winter? Perhaps we could learn to accept that there is a deep beauty and a deep truth in the quiet restfulness of Winter. As human beings, we all need a bit of rest, a bit of down time. Time to take a walk around the village, or perhaps further afield. Time to appreciate the world around us, and the changing of the Seasons. Time simply to be.

Fr Jason