winter: being receptive to its beauty and story

“That’s what winter is: an exercise in remembering how to still yourself then how to come pliantly back to life again.” ― Ali Smith, Winter

Winter’s story

 Winter is not something
 to be feared 
 but admired for its still, 

 still beauty. Because it’s
 where a world appears 
 to hold its breath

 and sigh, carpeted as it is
 with deeply frozen 
 potential teeming beneath

 darkened soil. Wet grasslands
 are rimed with frost, liquid drips 
 from hedges and trees

 as if to say, “Look, look,
 don't you see?”
 Yet so often we turn
 our cold, cold faces 

 to the wind, huddle 
 into woolly scarves,
 stamp our fretful, impatient 

 feet, like we can’t wait
 for spring or to get away.
 But then we might miss

 the invisible invitation
 hidden in mist, concealed
 in muffled greyness, skies

 laden with snow, perhaps,
 or in petrified puddles
 now become miniature 

 skating rinks we risk our 
 limbs on as we walk.
 We’re so dismissive
 of pared back trees losing 

 their verdancy
 that we fail to grasp
 just how majestic, how starkly

 splendid they really are.
 A life isn’t only glorious
 in springtime or abundantly

 beautiful in summer,
 because our autumnal days
 and whitening wintry glaze all have
 their own story to tell,

 etched into each season,
 their own magic to whisper
 into our receptive souls
 if we decide to notice it.
 © joylenton

“It seems like everything sleeps in winter, but it’s really a time of renewal and reflection.” ― Elizabeth Camden, Until the Dawn

NOTE: If you need a bit of help to see the beauty of winter or fail to appreciate the invitation to soul stillness it provides, maybe the free pdf excerpt from my book ‘Embracing Hope’ will help to gently steer your thoughts in that direction. *Just click on the cover below to download it.* And if you would like to read more, then you’ll be pleased to know that the ‘Embracing Hope’ e-book is on special offer up to January 18th! xo 🙂 ❤

24 thoughts on “winter: being receptive to its beauty and story

    • Hello Julie, it’s a joy to see you whenever you can make it. I’ve actually been missing from my blogs for several weeks. This is my first post here since before Christmas. I’ve been busy with a new creative project which has left me with little energy to do much else. I’m so glad you were blessed by the poem. And I’m really happy you stopped by today. Blessings and love! xo 💜

      • Julie, with all that’s going on, coupled with family responsibilities and ongoing concerns, you’re doing really well to blog at all right now. I empathise with you needing to finish your book. My latest self-published one isn’t quite complete as a paperback version yet. They can consume an enormous amount of time, attention and effort. Prayers for your book completion will be added. Love and hugs. xo 😊💟

      • Oh, me, too, Julie. If it wasn’t a necessity for my health, I wouldn’t take such long breaks. You’re welcome to my prayers. Yes, please keep me posted on your progress. Xx 💜

  1. “etched into each season” I love the image of God that this line awakens in me. It is just like Him to leave hidden messages of His magic throughout His creation. It is only when we pay attention that we see these wondrous things! Thank you for the generous offering of your book excerpt! Please remind me where I can purchase the complete work? May God hold you close today, sweet friend.

    • Oh, June, I love your description of God leaving “hidden messages of His magic throughout creation.” You’re right, paying attention is the way to notice these things. It feeds our joy as the beauty nurtures our weary souls back to life. I know you’re already a keen observer and lover of nature, as well as a skilled photographer and capturer of many magic moments.
      You can buy the ‘Embracing Hope’ book on Amazon. The Kindle version is reduced up to January 18th. May it help you to embrace Hope and open your eyes afresh to the beauty that exists. Thank you for your sweet blessing. I’m in need of a holy hug! Blessings and love. xo ❤️

  2. “Look, look, don’t you see?” Oh how I love that line, Joy. Just like something my youngest could cry. She’s good for my heart too. Childlike wonder.

    So love that photo. Thank you for being God’s warmth to my heart tonight. Sending love from across the pond.

    • I’m glad you can relate to that line, Anna. It does rather grab the attention, doesn’t it? Young children are experts in noticing what most adults miss, because everything is a source of awe and wonder to them. I’m guessing it’s the photo of my grandson you’re referring to? He is rather cute here, I must admit, but I am a tad biased! Sending God’s warmth and love back to you across the pond, dear friend. xo ❤️

      • Anna, he has a great gift of bringing out the inner child in me. His enthusiasm is quite contagious, as is his sense of fun and zest for life. I might be weak, in pain, and limited in my mobility but my heart leaps whenever I see him online or (more rarely) face to face. Children can be hard work but they’re such a precious gift from God. Love and hugs to you, dear friend! xox 😊❤️

  3. Dear Joy,
    What a blessing to read your words here tonight! These thoughts captured my heart:

    “we fail to grasp
    just how majestic, how starkly
    splendid they really are.”

    Starkly splendid … oh yes! I find myself just staring out the windows here so often lately, and your words describe perfectly how the trees look in our tiny little wooded lot. Oh, may I let the Lord open my eyes to see the beauty in this winter season of my own life too. He has His gifts to share right here. Thank you dear friend for giving us glimpses into His heart for us. Blessings and love for you! xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, it’s a great blessing for me to have energy and inspiration enough to return to this space after my blogging break. And a joy to meet up again with my wonderful readers and friends! I can picture you staring out the window with your soul hungry for creation’s soothing sights. How lovely that you live close to a wooded lot so you can watch the changing seasons unfold!

      Thank you for considering the reference to our own wintry seasons of life, and acknowledging how it helps to maintain a positive mindset. I believe our ache for beauty and our need for reassurance are prayers God willingly answers. May you find more and more beauty in these slowed down days, and in your call to greater stillness. Blessings, love and hugs to you, dear friend! xoxo 💟

  4. Dear Joy, thank you. So compassionate, a little wry, and deeply invitational. These lines especially shift my outlook today:

    “We’re so dismissive
    of pared back trees losing

    their verdancy
    that we fail to grasp
    just how majestic, how starkly

    splendid they really are.
    … their own story to tell,

    etched … magic …”

    • Dear Laurie, thank you for being here and sharing the lines that resonated with you. I’m glad you like the poem. May the magic of winter continue to enthral your heart through the hard and dark. Blessings and hugs. xo ❤️

  5. I love this Joy – your poem captures winter so perfectly – and the smiling child’s face such delight! I think one of the reason’s I love photography is because it helps me see the beauty God places in each season. One of the most interesting things I ever read about winter is how one of the calendars – before the world decided to use the one we have now – just stopped after Autumn – no name, no season, no counting – and then it started up again in the Spring. When I read about that calendar – it made me feel so sorry for those who didn’t have days, dates – a name. It must have been a very dark time then. So glad God brings the light into our lives in all seasons! Shalom, Joy! ~ Maryleigh

    • I agree, Maryleigh, who doesn’t like a child’s smiling face? They generally have a greater tolerance for the changing seasons and a natural delight in the joys of winter. Photography is a great way to capture the beauty of every season. How intriguing to think of winter being left out of that calendar you mentioned! How incredibly long it would have seemed to move so slowly from autumn to spring. Now we watch for and anticipate increasing daylight hours to encourage our winter-weary hearts. Praise God for bringing “the light into our lives in all seasons!” That’s such a needful gift, isn’t it? Shalom to you, too, my friend! May you enjoy this season and those yet to come. Blessings. x ❤️

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