I have a big, beautiful window in my office that I often find myself looking out while I play long tones or write on my computer. There’s a little forest and in the summer, it is an explosion of green leaves - all shades, shapes, sizes, and textures. It is dense, cool, and my favorite part of where I live.
But in the depths of winter, it looks like this…
Dead, gray, and desolate.
Except that, actually, it isn’t…
In fact, life somehow seems more active, more abundant, and more resilient than it does in the peak of summer when I take a moment to actually see.
With only the skeletons of my forest, now I can see red-headed woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, robins, sparrows, and red-tailed hawks flying from tree to tree in search of food. There are fewer places for my white-tailed deer to hide as they meander through my yard, and I watch their fawns grow older with each passing week. There are squirrels with bushy tails munching nuts on tree branches or furiously burying them under my mulch. The trees sway as they dance with the wind, their bones fluid and responsive to their environment. It’s quieter, for sure. Sometimes an emboldened bird sings out her song for a brief moment, but silence is the main backdrop to this season.
There is most definitely sweet, vibrant life in my dead, gray and (maybe not so desolate) forest.
As humans, performers, creators we can feel pressure to be our own version of lush and green all the time. We compare our winter to someone else’s summer. We think that our beauty is only determined by our vibrant color.
But these winter times are So Important.
We can get quiet.
We can notice.
We can bury treasures to unearth in the spring.
We can explore our imagination and creativity.
We can allow lessons to synthesize in our subconscious.
There is magic happening in our own personal winters. And, sometimes, our dead, gray, desolate forest reveals beauty we would have never seen otherwise.
So, take heart, my dear friend. If you are in your own winter right now, as I have been for the last couple of months, something breathtaking is happening inside of you.
Let your skeleton dance in the wind.
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Founder of The Musician's Mindset
Katie is a certified life coach dedicated to helping musicians overcome stage fright and believe in their own unique artistic voice. She believes live classical music is a powerful antidote for the division, pain, and loneliness pervasive in the culture and strives to support all artists to confidently share their work with the world. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, three kiddos, a dog, a snake, and a goldfish named Orca.