Toward winter’s end the land is laid bare and the grayest of days reveal tints of silver, sage, teal, aqua, tan, taupe, smoke, umber and sienna.
No leaf is left to dress and every bird nest bared shows well for the next tenants.
I walk alone or with my dogs, no gaggle of geese with me, counting steps and calories.
Why stay on the roads when the deer have made such lovely paths for me!
There are treasures here and I collect things in my pockets to carry some mystery home.
In this cold bright air stands a cluster of pines by a stream I’d never noticed beyond the usual veil of deciduous forest and I raise my nose like my dogs will and draw deep in hopes of finding an offering of that favorite fragrance hovering in the stillness.
Here is someone’s driveway and farther in the woods a quiet home of moss covered stone that seems to grow from the ground and here is a guest cottage overgrown with ivy nearly hidden in a tiny sunken meadow.
Bare now is a long gone pet’s worn headstone in a neighboring yard which summer sheltered in wild grass.
A cluster of daffodils heralds Spring and marks the headstone from afar and I think
How could the daffodils shine so well if competing with the sun?
And like a photographer shines his light brightly to dissolve the details of a model’s skin so that no wrinkle or shadow mare the beauty,
By the absence of the sun, in this grayness I can see every shadow, and detail, and texture of the trees.
They have faces and bodies.
They have battle scars and history written upon them.
By their rawness, I’m drawn in.
Such honesty welcomes me to my self by example and I feel at home here.
I consider the contrast of humans. How are we fully appreciated or approachable as covered up as we are?
How are we at home with each other?
It’s a politically charged year for the nation. It’s a politically charged year for the yoga community.
I wonder about the aversion we Americans have to discussing sensitive topics. I listen to two students of mine agree with each other that you never discuss politics or religion. One of them is a popular musician and the other a public figure. They are guarded for their livelihoods.
But I think of the emerald green glistening moss on a lichen covered rotting log that had captured my attention and imagination for more than just a passing glance on my walk and thought what a pity it is that we are too sensitive, too fragile to look at the beauty in the mold and rot and decay as well as the flowers.
Light’s camouflage does not remove these things but leaves them undiscovered and denies them the attention that might reveal there is beauty in the argument, there can be fury without hate, that our sensitivities to what we don’t understand need not be preserved by aversion but dispersed by discussion.
In the grayest of times, we are unveiled. If we were really home, would we not be willing to undress?
reprinted on Rebelle Society as Undressed.