The Gift of Black Lace


I went to a seminar last week for social work credentialing. I saw a professor of mine from grad school (RIC School of Social Work) – Dr. Deborah Seigel. She said hello right away, and told me she always remember what I said about trees in winter in class one day.  I had forgotten what I had said, and asked her to remind me. She said that I had told her that when I saw the black outlines of defoliated trees in winter, it reminded me of black lace. This really impacted her because she has always associated it with a depressing winter. I had forgotten, but she was able to give the gift back to me. I haven’t seen winter trees that way in awhile. It was a secret I had kept from myself.

Our minds are like trees and our presents become memories that all eventually fall like leaves from a tree. We are left with black lace but thankfully not any permanent kind of death. We hold the promise of new leaves.  Yet there is also beauty and depth in our mourning . We look for each other at these times, fighting the cold.   Yet in winter we can see our world and each other more clearly. More light hits the ground.  The trees stop feeding themselves, almost like a gift,  and we can see our horizons more easily.  Our spirits are fed in one way, and there is a feast to be shared.  But the clarity, the too clear view of our vulnerability can become blinding as time passes, and we need nature to feed us and our trees again  in ways that can sustain  warmth. 

We only see the beauty of black lace  in cold times if we’ve already taken in heat  in warm times and can hold it close to sustain our beating hearts.

We can’t do it alone, but there is also this attention to our hearts each one of us must give to ourselves, or else die wondering what the hell is the point of it all.

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