I followed the path that skirted the corn field. There the path was not icy. Cold and hard it lay without a blanket of snow for protection. I stopped and imagined the surroundings dressed in summer green. Three months ago, the trees had been draped in bright autumn robes. Now they stood naked, grey, and lifeless under the dull winter sky. Their power to sleep through the winter and awaken young in the spring amazed me.
The path wound around the sleeping trees. Further down the trail I came upon a small clearing where a majestic tree stood proudly towering above the others. Was this the king of the woods? Trees like this always held an enticing power over me. It beckoned me; to climb its strong branches; to view the world from above; to touch the heavens. I wanted to approach it; to finger its rough bark; to set my foot against its trunk; to make the exhilarating climb; and be cradled in its large arms. But doing so would mean succumbing to temptation that probably would end in a drastic fall. I stood transfixed. The urge grew stronger and stronger.
Suddenly I heard my mother's voice from the past, "Stay out of the trees! You've torn enough clothes, child!" True. I had torn many clothes and good coats by climbing trees. I was a child then. I'm an adult now. But yet the lure was still there, as enticing as ever.
I studied the tree from a safe distance. Several broken branches were entangled in the grasp of other branches, clinging, afraid to fall, still wanting to be part of the whole. I wondered about the cause of their brokenness. Perhaps an enthusiastic but careless climber had caused the damage or someone with a saw attempting to rid the tree of sick and decaying parts. But why they were left dangling precariously I did not know. One branch hung strangely loose touching the ground like a hangman's noose. Cautiously I approached and touched it. I was surprised it was not limp as it appeared but firm and solid. Then I realized it was not a branch but a vine. I moved around the tree and saw a green clump of grass nestled amongst the large twisted roots. It was an odd sight; green grass in the middle of January; a promise of warm past days to arrive again.
I turned and left the forest; filled with the wonder of God's creation and strengthened by the triumph over temptation.
Shirley writes from her hometown, Sudbury, ON - the Nickel Capital of the World.
Visit her at: www.auntshirley.wordpress.com