the snow has been falling all day & night. the air is extremely cold. and here i am, clicking away on my computer, sipping wine, & munching on cheese doodles (cause that’s how i roll), ready to reflect on today’s photo theme:
day 4: tree
i know that we all have tons of beautiful trees around us this time of year. all lit up with lights & decorations. trees in our homes. trees outside lining our city streets or standing tall in our city squares. but do we ever really stop to think about why?
the use of trees, especially evergreen trees, during the holiday season is actually something that goes back many, many years. the meaning of these holiday trees began with celebrations of the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. the shortest day of the year occurs in december, and to mark that date, people hung greenery & boughs on their doors & windows as a reminder that this dark period of the year would not last forever. and sure enough, after the winter solstice, the days began to grow longer. the sun god would be on his or her way back to health, and longer days filled with sunshine would begin to return.
i love trees. all times of the year. i love how they are an obvious example of the cycle of life, of the promise of life from death, light from dark, rebirth from death. whether you celebrate the christian christmas season or not, we all can celebrate the light that comes to this world, over & over again, every year. and the hope that the light brings. the trees that we see during this time of year are a reminder of that promise, that cycle.
but, for now, we wait. we even suffer. for now we are left in the dark, wondering what this world is coming to. how long this pain, confusion, injustice, and war will linger. we cry out from the darkness and we try to hold on. the trees, whether they are bare or are evergreen, however, symbolize hope for us. they teach us that, even in the bleak midwinter, even in the cold & dark, that life will return. the sun will return. all hope is not lost. in the midst of winter, trees are a sign of life. we may not see it fully, but the promise remains.
the sun will make an appearance again. the warmth will return. buds will sprout & leaves will grow. green will one again cover the earth.
right now, though, for those of us in the north, winter is here. though it seems all hope is lost, we stand firm, like the trees. and we keep the faith. because hope is alive.