Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
~ Robert Frost
Thanks to Annette Whewell May for this picture
The winds blow. The page turns and turns again. The conductor holds her baton poised and still until the next movement begins.
This waiting season comes as we move from autumn into winter. It comes when almost all of the leaves have fallen from the trees. It comes when nature looks her most stark. Advent's waiting season comes when the cold wind blows through and can sometimes take our breath away. It is here when the darkness finds us earlier and earlier each evening. And yet, and yet we know that these bare trees are not dead. We know that they, too are waiting for what is not yet within our sight, not yet within our grasp. It comes when these bare branches show us their beauty in ways unexpected and truly magnificent. It comes when the darkness shows us the brightest stars. It comes when our very souls call for what is next.
It's not that the trees' branches aren't bare; they are. It's not that the wind doesn't feel like it's blowing right through us; it does. It's not that the darkness isn't all around us; it is. And, and, in this coming-soon-winter season we are reminded that what is right here and now is not all of what holds us, shapes us, cradles us, calls to us.
Mr. Frost was so very right in telling us that "nature's first green is gold" and that "nothing gold can stay." Things change. We come to the last sentence of a favorite book. A wonderful piece of music plays to its finish. Our bodies grow weary. Loved ones die. Nothing gold can stay.
In this Advent waiting season we are invited to see beyond what is, and look to what is yet to be. Yes, there is darkness, and still these seasons have taught us that if we keep looking, light will come. Yes, the branches are bare, but what we see to be empty and vulnerable is not all there is in fully seeing these trees. These trees around us can be our shepherds and guides. These trees as much as anything in our lives show us the beauty that comes when we wait. These trees show us that if we can live in and through these coming-soon-winter days our hearts begin to believe that spring is surely coming. The moment of spring's coming may not necessarily be measured by a date circled on a wall calendar. Instead this year, we might find a sense of spring's coming on the whisper of the wind.