~ Please enjoy my column for the Nov/Dec 2016 edition of the Loon Lake Times newspaper ~
Through the trees
To signal Earth’s great changes
Reminds us to
Walk in wonder
Fall in Love
With Life again
I reflect on this poem penned a few years ago; as I wandered through the fiery reds, shimmering yellows, wilting greens, and burning browns of fall in southern Germany. As I scan the horizon, these words waft back to me; like the gleaming, heart-shaped leaf floating on the breeze before me, here on the misty shores of our beloved Loon Lake. It’s my first fall in eastern Washington, and I can’t help but stare in awe of the matchless, illuminating, golden glow; painting its way across our landscape, nestling between evergreens on the mountainside, tracing the waterline with every whispering gust of wind. Though our days grow darker, grayed by rain; and nights grow longer, as the Earth rotates; I still find myself walking out and wondering:
How did we get so lucky?
…Thanks in no small part to the trees. Their being simply allows us to breathe. Their corpses build our homes and firelight. Their changing leaves brighten our existence. Their ever-green needles remind us that these days shall pass on to greener ones; and that perhaps we too may stand strong in the face of storms. I am thankful for the trees; pillars of life, inspiration, love, strength, and beauty all around. Indeed they are among many of Mother Nature’s nurturing gifts…gifts that cost us absolutely nothing.
Kind of like the best sort of camaraderie enjoyed with family, friends, and neighbors. The holiday season is upon us, ushering forth opportunities to share a smile, meal, or moment in welcoming, warm environs. The Danes have a word for this, hygge, pronounced “hooga.” They’ve built an entire culture dedicated to cultivating a sort of “coziness of the soul,” not just in the dark and cold of fall and winter, but all year through. Hygge, which to me also sounds a bit like “hug,” can involve anything from candlelight to good food and drink; fuzzy socks to a lovely conversation. I think the Danes could be on to something, given the United Nations frequently ranks them among the happiest people in the world.
Here in the US, the holidays and days of cold can each be stressful in their own right; but the Danes certainly aren’t basking in sunshine at this time of year either. As you gather together with family and friends, perhaps by candle or firelight; some of you may dance around a tree; some of you may gobble a pumpkin pie or two. Let’s give thanks for the gifts all around…and I’m not necessarily talking about the ones found in a shopping mall; but rather the incredible existence we’ve been born into, here on Earth. Just look to the trees, should you forget; and give yourself a hug. Take a moment to marvel at the golden glow sweeping our Loon Lake landscape…and I hope you’ll join me too in wondering:
How did we get so lucky?
ElizaBeth Coira is a writer, poet, consultant, facilitator, and new Loon Lake neighbor. The poem “Wonder Fall” is featured in her gift book, Sending You My Love~ Little Thoughts on Life and Love. It’s available for purchase on Amazon.com, or to checkout at our very own Loon Lake Library! Part of the profits from book sales support women, children, and neglected animals through international aid organization, Project COLORS. To learn more, visit ElizaBethCoira.com or HomeGrownSojourner.com today!