It has been a brutal winter thus far and the trees give evidence of the continued cold, heavy winds, snow and rain by their empty branches and darkened color. Yet before we despair there are also signs the trees have dug deep, held on, and will soon regenerate and bear leaves, flowers and fruits.
Tu B’Shvat is this week. Hillel stated the “new year for the trees” is Shevat 15th. There are broad ranging customs and traditions for Tu B’Shvat, including eating fruits, a Kabbalistic mystical Seder service, and the planting of trees in Israel. These are other customs and traditions that I will not include here.
As we look at the trees, presently barren though standing strong, we can glean much about ourselves and the seasons of our lives. The process of transitioning from one season of life to the next seems, at times, to be very long and arduous. As we emerge from the winters of our lives there are times, it seems, we are suspended, wasting time and opportunity, rather than growing stronger and climbing higher.
Waiting is not wasted time unless we choose to make it so. Waiting is becoming, growing, and learning. As we wait, we reflect, we recall and we prepare for the next season.
Just as the trees will come out of their season of barrenness into fruitful abundance, so shall we. The darkness has its purpose, just as the light does. In the dark we can give in, shrivel up and withdraw or we can utilize the resources placed within us by the G-d who created us and in whose image we are made. Dig deep, spread your roots, prepare to be fruitful and beautiful.
It fills my heart with joy when I see the trees starting to sprout a few leaves, then a few more, then some buds followed eventually by flowers or fruit. I am more joyous when I see a fellow human being coming out of darkness, a little smile, a little more light in their eyes, a bit of a spring in their step. And so it goes, growing and blooming, brokenness becoming beauty, hopelessness replaced by hope, and rather than depleting inner resources sharing them to help others emerge and transition from darkness to light.
However you choose to celebrate Tu B’Shvat may you be blessed with awareness of the Source that is with us in both barren and fruitful time and may you be blessed to bloom and shine the Light of love every where you go.