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  • Writer's pictureBield at Blackruthven

Winter’s Grip

The Bield re-opened to guests this week on a clear, bright, deep-frosted Tuesday morning. My car temperature gauge read -4.5 degrees as I drove over here past the Lomond Hills silhouetted against the emerging dawn. After the morning chapel, I gave an unexpected but very welcome visitor, a tour of the grounds and as we walked towards the orchard labyrinth, we both stood in awe at the still beauty of the frosted ground; the contours of the labyrinth pathways illuminated by the early morning sunshine. But something was missing; the willow structure at the centre has been removed for renovation and I exclaimed in disappointment. Without that sheltering centre, the labyrinth had become something else. We approached the centre and looked at the rough oval shape with its astro turf looking strangely at odds with the natural grass around it. To me, it appeared like a burial site, covered over by the gravediggers before the head stone is erected and the ground is re-turfed and settled.There was a jolting starkness about this winter’s scene with the bare trees, the frost hardened ground, the labyrinth’s meandering trails glistening in the sunshine and my thoughts turned to the soon-approaching season of Lent and Jesus’ journey from the cross to the tomb. Here, the reality of our faith is exposed, with none of the tinsel and trappings of Christmas to cover it, the familiar images of the warm stable and the sheltering presence of shepherds, kings and angels. In this winter season, the invitation may be to sit in the cold, piercing light and allow it to illuminate our landscape and reveal to us the face of God.



The dark emerging trees

from the new-winer wood

are lovelier than leaves

as cold is also good.

The hearts necessities

include the interlude

of frost- constricted peace

on which the sun can brood

The strong and caustic air

that strikes us to the bone

blows til we sees again

the weathered shape of home.

No season of the soul

strips clear the face of God

save cold and frozen wind

upon the frozen sod.

Jane Tyson Clement

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