The end of a marriage reminds me of a winter landscape. All is laid bare. The adornments and filigree are gone, leaving the structure exposed to the biting wind. Its beauty is found in perspective. In appreciating the rough nature of the bark, showing its scars and wear. In gazing at the complexity of the interconnected branches in wonder. In seeing the potential in every limb, every bud. In imagining the new growth, just barely hidden below the surface, that will be revealed by the touch of the warm sun.
The winter of a marriage is also a time for viewing the underneath, what is left when all the distractions are stripped away. It is a time to see yourself, your marriage, as it is, not as it may appear. It is also a time to daydream about what can be and what can grow.
I spent most of the winters of my married days analyzing my garden (actually a barely-tamed almost acre plot) and pouring over flower catalogs, dreaming of the beauty I could create the following spring. I spent the winter of my marriage examining the structure of my relationship and imagining the life I wanted when the sun began to shine again. Too bad they don’t make life catalogs where you can peruse and select the elements you want!