“As autumn gave way to winter, those bare limbs, stretched black against the sky, revealed the essence of trees and the way that death can open us to the essence of life. I was able to see the trees in a different way and came to appreciate the beauty of sparseness.” Christine Valters Paintner, The Soul’s Slow Ripening

How do you appreciate beauty in sparseness?

Fully alive

When we are at peace, we find the freedom to be most fully who we are, even in the worst of times. We let go of what is nonessential and embrace what is essential. We empty ourselves so that God may more fully work within us. Cardinal Joseph Bernadin

Like the trees in the beauty of this season, what do you let go and what do you embrace?

Olive tree

Why am I drawn to the olive tree? Is it the beauty and flavor of it’s fruit? The oil that speaks of anointing? The olive branch as a symbol of peace and offer of reconciliation? The hardiness of the tree that can withstand extreme conditions?

Which of these speaks to you?

Slowing down to listen

“I will never understand the silent dying of the green pie-apple tree if I do not slow down and listen to what the Spirit is telling me, telling me of the death of trees, the death of planets, of people, and what all those deaths mean in the light of love of the Creator, who brought them all into being, who brought me into being, and you.” Madeleine L’engle, walking on Water

There is forced slowing down from outer circumstances and there is voluntary slowing down, to be and to listen. What emerges as you slow down and listen?