The Pine Trees

I live in Ottawa, Canada and last night around 10 centimeters of snow fell. As I got into my car this morning it was still coming down but it was quite tranquil. There was barely a breeze and snow falling this way does an excellent job of muffling the sounds of the rat race. It wasn’t sticky snow but was nonetheless gathering quite significantly on the branches of trees.

When I arrived at work the snow had stopped but the air was still calm. Then without much warning the clouds parted and the sun shone bright against a sky blue backdrop. The sun has been a rare sight in Ottawa lately so I took special notice of this. It hadn’t been out for 5 minutes when I noticed the wind was starting to blow. The snow that was laying softly on the ground was now starting to be thrown about by this ever increasing breeze. Looking into the distance each building had developed a white halo of drifting snow.

This quick change in the weather caught my eye and I stood from my desk and went to the window. What was a stiff breeze now became a gale. Snow everywhere was flung from it’s resting spot and visibility was decreasing with each passing gust. I looked towards the front entrance of my building where three or four 40 foot pine trees stand bunched together. They seemed either unaffected or protected from the dramatic shift in weather, but then something incredible happened…

As if some universal threshold was broken the wind reached such a speed that the branches could no longer hang on to their snow. In one swift punch from Mother Nature the pines disappeared into a cloud of it’s own blowing snow. The trees were violently shaken by the indecisive wind direction until all it’s branches lie clean. As the snow all moved along and the trees became bare I experienced a definite awe in witnessing such a simple event.

Soon I began to realize that what I saw had profound spiritual undertones. The gathering of snow on the branches was similar to how we add layers upon layers to ourselves. Then there was the sun busting through the clouds providing a sign of hope. With the appearance of the sun the winds start to dramatically change. The environment becomes turbulent and more violent. Often, in a spiritual journey, after the first signs of light things start to get worse before they get better. Then as if the tree can take no more it releases the snow and carries it’s burden no more. The pines stand barren, simpler and free. The winds still blow but those pines barely seem to notice anymore.

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