The winter air was still, icy. More silent than usual. The only sound; my boots crunching in the snow.  Then I heard it. A scratching, a dry leaf rattle. I looked, and there on the white ground a red tailed squirrel, head in the snow, feet frantically scratching the brown leaves under the snow. It pulled out an acorn and ran up the dry limbs of a bush.

There, hunched over against the cold and with its tail wrapped, shawl like, over its back and looking like a mohawk on top of its head, it peeled the nut, dropping shells onto the snow. It worked its magic till finally it nourished itself on the nut.

When winter comes in our souls, we sometimes need to dig deep to find nourishment. When the icy wind of disappointment or betrayal freezes our hearts, we find it hard to get under the soul’s hardened ground to something that would nourish our hope. Fear piles up like snow over  the heart’s vulnerable membrane and we can’t find courage to move forward.

So, we have dig deep. We know life will wither in the winter if we do not dig through the cold and find the food that is hiding under the dead leaves of fall. The ground of our being harbors life in its dark and frozen soil. There are tastes of light, whispers of hope, scents of love. They may be small and hard-shelled, but when we take time to look, when we take time to unwrap them, they will give is enough to get through till the thaw comes.