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The Long Winter Sleep

“Sweet dreams Willowby,” she whispered, “till next year.”

“Now,” syllable by syllable, Willowby was slowly dragging the words from deep within himself in his effort to explain, one last time, before winter overtook him, “it is nearing winter, the time of my deep sleep. Winter is the time to prepare for what we need to do next, to be ready for when the times change, when the buds appear. Just look around you at nature.”

Sonya looked around her at the trees, the brook and the little glade, now bathed in moonlight. She knew she was hearing Willowby’s final words of the season. “Just look. The trees have shed most of their leaves, the flowers are sleeping and the dark nights are drawing in.

It is a time to let go and reflect on all the things you have learned over the past twelve months, and it is a time to plan for the birth of the new life in the year ahead when we can grow and move forward once more.”

Willowby fell silent and Sonya understood exactly what he was saying.

“The time of the deep sleep,” murmured Sonya, suddenly feeling heavy.

“Yes indeed,” agreed Willowby. “All willow trees sleep in the winter, we hibernate, just like hedgehogs. Everything slows down so we dream our dreams.”

“I have never thought of winter in that way,” Sonya remarked. “I always used to see the winter time as boring because I couldn’t go outside to play when it was dark.”

“Yes, you see,” Willowby replied, “it is such a valuable time and most people ignore the beautiful opportunity that winter offers us.” He paused, then stated, “Take your cue from nature. Nature is the perfect teacher, because everything in nature is connected, you only need to look.”

Silence fell, as though all that remained awake in the wood was listening to Willowby, as his voice, now reduced to a whisper, urged, “Remember, look and everyday you will find a miracle, a sign that you are loved. You are surrounded by blessings. The sun will always find a way to shine, even when the clouds are low, and the earth, if you look after it, will nourish you.”

Sonya looked around but only felt how dull life would be without Willowby to talk to. “So, that means I won’t be able to talk with you through the winter time,” Sonya sighed sadly.
“I will miss you,” she whispered.

There was silence again. They both knew that this time spell could not be broken. It brought a sweet sadness that the two friends felt keenly. They both knew that, no matter what might happen, whatever the season, the friendship that existed between them would withstand all the tests of time.

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