Through the empty branches the sky remains.
It is what you have.
—Rilke, Book of Hours
It is late November in America. Cold winds blow across the sky mixed with tears and fears and whispers of darkness to come. And yet, the season of thanksgiving beckons us to find a shelter of gratitude where we can offer up some imperfect gesture.
Underneath a giant Cottonwood tree—a tiny yellow dot under the crisp, cloudless New Mexico sky— I stand, just a little awed. Around me, the autumn light filters through crackling leaves into pools of warm gold.
In the trauma of our time, I take refuge in this safe place, under a great canopy of warm color, even while knowing that next month will be leafless and colorless. Then, there will be no golden light, no pausing to stand in the bitter cold.
But for now, this arboreal refuge of change and beauty, rootedness and stillness, spreads over me like a golden fleece.
Winter is coming. The world seems to be entering a season of darkness where goodness hibernates in caves high up in the mountains.
But “the sky remains. It is what you have.”
What will we do with the sky in the absence of color and life and