Dormant Like a Tree

Schools across Atlanta closed yesterday in anticipation of “snowpocalypse.” The morning was 40 degrees with a little rain; the afternoon sunny and bright. Our sled stayed in the basement. Not a single flake fell. So my boys and I whittled away the day with friends, books, and time in the park. That’s winter in Georgia for you. It hardly ever gets achingly cold and snowstorms resemble ghost sightings in that they’re most exciting in the recounting of the tale. Still, it is winter here. The air is colder than usual, the skies grayer, and the oaks lost their leaves a while back – the first signs of winter dormancy.

Can a person go dormant like a tree? That would explain what’s going on, if so because something changed over the last couple of weeks. Something inside of me shifted. Normally, I’m what could be called a “pursuer,” or, “reacher.” I reach for friends, family, healing, adventure, and meaningful moments. Every reach is a part of my quietly stubborn quest to create the life I envision, even as the finishing line shifts and bucks amidst life’s twists and turns. Sometimes the effort feels more high-speed chase than a carefully crafted journey. Call my sister? Check. Sign my oldest kid up for karate? Check. Grocery shop, write an article, create a memorable night out with friends? Check, check, check.

The goal has been to forge such a satisfying external life that it quenches the internal thirst. But this may be an impossible dream since life’s one constant is change, and yearning a bottomless well. So I’m attempting to flip the switch for a season. Or perhaps winter flipped itself created the change. Trees enter a resting period when light fades and temperatures drop. They do this to conserve energy. The dormant phase a time when roots may develop the most. So, like the trees, I’m laying low. Slowing things down. More resting. Less reaching. Time to go deeper. To paraphrase with a yoga quote: Don’t just do something sit there…kind of like a tree. Okay, I added that last part.

~Robynne Boyd

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