Living in the north takes a certain kind of vigor, one that won’t let you down during the long cold and dark months of winter. Some folks seem to revel in it finding pleasure in the snow and all its playful ways. Their bodies seem to know how to cope with the frigid temperatures as they carry on with their lives as if winter was just another side of summer. I can remember as a child being one of those people. My mother would have to bribe me to get me to come in the house after an afternoon of snowy delight. Winter for me back then was just another side of summer. But as I got older I noticed a melancholy settling in during the winter months. It became harder and harder to feel any kind of kinship with the cold and frozen earth. Instead of feeling like another side of summer it began to feel like the death of summer. I missed my flowers and the green. I missed warm nights lying on the soft earth under a starry sky. I felt like a flower faerie buried under the cold, unforgiving blanket of snow, shivering through an endless night of darkness.
One frigid winter day as I started to feel myself sinking down into that familiar dark, depressing pit of anxiety, my meditations were interrupted by a group of sprites appearing as tiny lights circling around me. They sounded like bees buzzing in a flowery garden patch. As I listened to their sounds I began to hear voices forming amidst the buzzing. “Come with us.” “We have something to show you.” It will help you.” It will bring you peace.”
So I followed them to a forest covered in knee deep snow where they began to dance around a huge tree that stood before me. Then I heard them all giggling as they disappeared through a hole in the side of the tree. I lost track of time as I stood there waiting, for what I didn’t know, and was about to give up on this whole meditation journey when I heard a distant voice calling from within the tree, “Aren’t you coming in?” Oh…that makes sense, I thought to myself. So I mustered up some shrinking power and slipped through the hole in the mighty tree.
At first all I saw was darkness and the thought occurred to me that I had been tricked by some pesky sprites looking for a good laugh. Then light began to seep into my vision and I blinked a few times thinking – this can’t be right. But as my surroundings became clearer I saw the little group of sprites dancing on my couch, and my table, and my bed, and all through my house. Inside the tree was a perfect replica of my own house! I stood there in awe. How nice it would be to live inside a tree for the winter!
As I was thinking that thought one of the sprites came up into my face.
“Silly…you are inside your house!” she giggled.
“No I’m not,” I replied.
“Oh but you are.”
“But this is the inside of a tree.”
“So – what is your house made of?” she asked.
“Wood,” I answered.
And then it hit me.
“The tree we entered is the spirit assemblage of all the trees it took to build your house.” she explained. “ When you are inside your house, you are inside this tree.”
All at once the sprites were in front of my face giggling, doing flips and pointing at what must have been a very funny (to them) look on my face. I was having one of those a-ha moments.
From that day on I haven’t had any more problems with winter depression. Whenever I start to feel it creep in I just close my eyes and see that giant tree in the snowy forest. I know where I am. I know where I live. I live inside a tree during the winter just like all the other summer faeries while we await the arrival of spring and the return of the Green.