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Searching for Beauty in the Bleak & Barren

Friday, November 18, 2016

My Grandma enjoyed painting landscapes. When she had a stroke and went into nursing care, most of her paintings came home with me and hung on my bedroom walls for a time for safe keeping. Although I enjoyed all of her paintings, my least favorite was a winter scene with barren, leafless trees. After weeks of daily viewing it, one day the trees suddenly seemed to come alive. I could envision them dancing. From that time on I've thought of that painting as "Dancing Trees" and while it is still not the one I most gravitate towards, it no longer appears lifeless and barren to me. In fact seeing the picture of it again, standing alone rather than by a bunch of summer landscapes, it doesn't seem dreary at all, like I thought of it back then. But maybe it's because when I see those trees, they are no longer barren but dancing.

When I'm out walking, the main thing my eyes focus on is the trees. I love all the shades of greens. and then fall colors. But now that the leaves are gone, they are so barren it is depressing. Today as I walked, remembering Grandma's Dancing Trees, I worked at trying to see beauty in the barrenness of the trees. I thought of them shedding all the excess weight, the things that cling to them, drain them and hide them. They are free for a time, from all their encumbrances.

It's also a time to rest, a time to reflect and see themselves as they really are with all the angles and twists of their branches. And a time to rejuvenate and store up resources so in a few months they can again burst into bloom with buds of leaves (and sometimes flowers), bringing color and scents into their space and providing shade, shelter and nesting places.

Each tree has a personality all its own. I saw some awkward looking trees with branches at all angles; some stood straight and tall, arms stretched upwards to the sky. There were a few younger trees with tiny branches that almost had a lacy appearance. The branches of others looked like different kinds of hairdo's from bad hair day to Afro to long and wild. One species had very rough looking bark and short jagged branches - I thought "itchy". One had very long, smooth branches in a group, almost like fingers on a hand that I'd never noticed when it was covered by leaves. All of them had arms and fingers reaching out and up.

I wonder. They appear to be resting. But when no one is looking, do the trees dance?

Is your weight loss journey looking bleak and dreary? Need some new perspective, some fun and maybe even learning to "dance" in the barren times? Check out the Winter 5% Challenge! Team members will work towards losing 5% of their starting weight in 8 weeks by participating in team challenges that focus on exercise & healthy lifestyle habits. Let's have fun, make new friends and get in shape! Challenge starts in January. Click on this link to check out or join the Challenge.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Fun! I love the picture! And the snow! Yes, the trees dance when we 're not looking. They talk too.
    1523 days ago
    1528 days ago
    It's a beautiful picture.
    I think a Winter landscape is often so beautiful, but very hard to capture in just the visual.
    What I love most is the softness, the muffled sounds - the echoes and how they bounce and ring.

    My favorite Winter times are walking on the beach - and it is truly amazing when it snows on the beach.
    I can't explain how the sound of the waves and the seagulls are at the same time more muted and muffled ... but also clearer and easily separated from any other sound. When I take a picture of it ... it just looks like a bare, bleak beach.
    1528 days ago
    Great entry. I like how the trees and a cloudless sky can appear starkly two-toned-- black and white, flat.
    1528 days ago
    The painting is awesome.
    1528 days ago
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