I have finally figured out what is going on.  I have winter brain.

Winter brain is like the black walnut tree’s naked stems scratching the gray cold sky. There are marks suggesting thoughts, but they don’t create clear images. I stare at them and just when it seems they might reveal themselves, a frigid wind comes along and scatters the marks. The minimalist painting won’t stay in place long enough to form a coherent thought. And the glimpses of ideas that do exist in my brain seem to go into hibernation. They refuse to be found so I can share them with others.

This brain is so different from the baroque summer brain. When it is warm, my brain is filled with little creaturely ideas racing around, chasing each other. Ideas gather in little clusters, and like an intricate baroque paining, get embellished and flow with a flourish.  The fruits hang heavy on the trees and there is plenty of low-hanging thoughts to fill the senses.  

But winter thoughts trouble me.  They cause me to feel so unproductive. Will those seminal ideas ever return?  Will I ever be able to write and share again, or will they resist filling my mind and leave it cold and empty?

But, I am tired of worrying. And I am tired of the fear that they will continue to be as illusive as a butterfly in a snow-storm. I have decided to embrace winter brain. I have decided to accept the infertile ground, to rest in the space between the scattered minimalist marks.

And in the emptiness, I will trust that the frozen earth is doing what it needs to do—protect the seeds of fruit from the snow and cold. And I have given myself to waiting—sometimes patiently and sometimes impatiently—for the thaw that will soften the hard soil and yield fresh green plants who bud with the promise of abundant fruit. When that happens, I will share what gifts I receive with those within whom I share life.