In having gratitude for the year that is coming to completion I reflect on the seasons. In this colorful photograph I travel back to the juicy fresh world of Spring, the season of hope and renewal, a welcome time after our last drought-filled winter of little or no rain in the Southwest.
Over several dry months the wild prickly pear cactus were showing evidence of suffering. Manzanita, scrub oak, and pinyon trees were in want of the moisture they had been denied. Life was pulling back, branches had died, the land felt powdery dry.
Then in Spring, the clouds returned, and rain once again fell to Earth. Faint sounds of dry creek beds coming back to life could be heard echoing from sandstone canyon walls.
One morning, before dawn, I hiked up into Soldiers Pass where the hilly trail comes to a particularly magical place called Seven Sacred Pools. There, runoff of fresh rainwater was trickling into a series of stair-stepped pools, filling each to the brim, then emptying into the next one below.
From the fading darkness, sunlight eventually climbed over the horizon and began melting warm sunlight down the east-facing ridge. Cliffs of glinting sandstone shined back the rich and inviting hues of the sunrise. The fresh pools of cool rainwater soon revealed the upside down sky, and then captured the brilliant orange rock formations in a perfect reflection.
Winter Solstice now approaches soon to turn the tide of lengthening nights and shorter and shorter days. Celebrating the cycles of life within the yin and yang of existence, I give thanks for blessings received and the hidden promise of another Spring.
Here in the conclusion of another year, I treasure this time of darkness, a season to go inward, focus dreams, gather around, and to share our stories.
As we enter the depths of winter, it opens space within for gratitude and appreciation, and to reflect on the beautiful, courageous, and peaceful moments of this passing year. Its a great time to say Amen.