Meditations in the Cold

My first fall in the Northwest has been a breathtaking sight.

The city has been overthrown by nature, its busy streets hushed by crisp colorful blankets of leaves from the army of trees commanding every block.

People wade through the crunchy mounds, smiling even on their way to work, thinking about crashing into one of the many piles just as they did when they were young and free from responsibility.

But, unlike the intense autumn I knew in the Midwest, all of this happens slowly here.

Each leaf flutters down from its branch with purpose, almost as if the leaf is taking its time to decide exactly where it wants to land. Whenever I spot one of these leaf performances, I stop and watch until it finishes its dance. Then, I smile and proceed.

To walk inside any of Portland’s forested communities, one can’t help but escape from the concrete, buildings, and congestion only minutes away.

Adding autumn and a Japanese garden into the mix enhances this magical experience.

portland japanese garden sand and stone garden

Last Saturday Mr. H and I went to the Portland Japanese Gardens in the late afternoon. It was our first visit to the gardens and we hoped to catch some impeccable fall scenery.

Many of the trees were already bare and at first we felt disappointed that we had missed the best part of the season.

But as we walked, we slipped into a meditation, and silently absorbed the transition of the garden from the liveliness of fall to the solitude of winter.

portland japanese garden pond
Too often we lock ourselves inside when the cold takes over. We don’t know what to do, we feel anxious or sad, perhaps we’re already dreaming of spring.

But, we’re missing it.

This is a time of turning inward…to reflect on life, to explore the mind. It’s not a time of laziness, it’s a time to strengthen our spirits.

When we step outside, we can take a cue from nature. Things change—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly—and we should not only adapt, we should be a part of the beauty around us.

So what? It’s cold…take a walk.

portland japanese garden waterfall

33 thoughts on “Meditations in the Cold

  1. What a beautiful post, Britt. I love how you describe fall and the beginnings of winter in your part of the world. I am indeed a hibernator once the holidays are past. I enjoy winter, in a very personal, introspective way. But, it does tend to weigh on me when I spend too much time in my head. Getting out, no matter how cold it is, and frolicking is good!

    1. It’s easy for me to hibernate as well. Any excuse to spend quality time with writing and reading works for me! Mr. H was the one who had the Japanese Garden idea, otherwise I would have been cooped up all day.

      So glad we went! Definitely clears the mind to get outside.

  2. Terrific pic of you Britt with the waterfall framed by those awesome colours. I’m not one for the winter but I can live with it knowing that spring is on its way before too long. Portland sounds a cool city.

    1. Aw. thank you kindly. Whenever I’m looking at Mr. H on the other side of the camera, it’s not hard to smile pretty. 🙂

      Portland, as you can see, is SO cool! It was a big move, but I’m glad we did it.

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