A Seed in Winter

I walked up to the playroom door yesterday morning only to find it locked and empty. Unusual, but so was my being there first thing in the morning. After opening up, I set to work, laying out materials for an ad hoc art group; metallic watercolors, paintbrushes, lots of white paper. Soon enough several patients found their way there too. Andrea, a tall, lovely 14 year old with an endearing smile, announced that she loved winter. She told us it was the bare trees that charmed her. "I think you're channeling the East Coast, Andrea. Many of the trees here still have their leaves," I told her. "Yes," she agreed, "that's what I'm channeling." As I later thought about it, however, as she had checked in for her last in-house chemo, perhaps she was reflecting on the nascent possibility that she could be cancer free. Her body had stored up all the infusions over the last year or so and now having lost her own "leaves," she was there waiting for that inevitable spring.

In an odd way she was exactly right: this is what winter does-strips us of our leaves, our illusions and leaves us with the bare outlines of our inner and outer landscape. We have a chance to reflect on the structure of our lives. Do we want to prune them, encourage growth in a new direction? (Which one of us doesn't want to do that with the alternative being stagnation?)

That means it's time for an accounting, a consideration of the past year; what I've been able to achieve and what was left wanting. And where, after all this looking, do I want to go in my life? Usually, I start this process with a list, but after combing through my iphoto file this morning, I thought it might be fun to select some of my favorite 2010 pieces and share them in a slideshow.