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Posted by Michael Finkelstein | February 3rd, 2011

The Moon When Trees Pop

The new moon in February is known in certain cultures as “The Moon When Trees Pop,” which gives way to a very valuable analogy for respecting forces that we are unable to see. As the story goes, the popping sound of the trees is a result of the frozen branches snapping in response to the strong winds of winter.  Indeed, there are many forces out there. Yet, as members of a very visual society, we often neglect them. This time of year presents us with an opportunity to develop the senses that enrich our experiences in a less visual but equally illustrative fashion.

As we dig into the meaning of this month, as captured by its name, we learn that to the Dakotah Sioux the sounds represented even more than the literal noise produced by the trees in the wind. As products of a culture intimately connected to nature, the “pops” were actually thought to be the voices of their ancestors; a form of communication only possible when the world was frozen and still. Can you imagine, then, how much they looked forward to this time of year? Contrast that to our general attitude toward the winter, pent up and bored as we explored 2 weeks ago.

Each season has its unique elements, including sounds and rhythms. One is not more important than the other. In fact, the different characteristics of the seasons throughout the year help us develop and refine the full spectrum of human potential. While we might have our preferences, it is clear to me that over-emphasis on one and under-emphasis of others is a recipe for imbalance. Nature keeps us on track, as long as we pay attention to it.  The wind in the winter, the force that causes trees to pop, stands for an elusive and commanding presence that should not be ignored, the deeper vibrations that connect us.

In the still of winter, when things are as frozen as they can be, our attention is drawn to what we can hear, touch and feel.  We are presented with the promise of a thrilling deliverance, as we can exercise the absence of the distractions and restrictions that surreptitiously seduce us through our gift of sight.  It is in our best interest to take full advantage of this promise, as once we do, we too can harness the power of the mighty wind and hear the message of our ancestors-the wisdom and beauty of living life in complete harmony.

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