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Stillness of a Snowy Wood

Whenever we have a burial at Foxfield Preserve, we line the bottom of the grave with pine boughs. It creates a beautiful, soft place to lay your loved one to rest.

This means that each time I am preparing for a service, I head out for a walk along our trails to cut pine boughs. These solitary walks tend to be full of reflection for me. Inevitably, my thoughts linger with the families that I am assisting with arrangements. My mind wanders through the stories and memories they’ve shared with me of the loved one they’ve lost.

My mind was full of such bittersweet thoughts as I walked to the stand of pines this week. The blanket of snow underfoot created a soft muffled sensation within the wood, and a gentle crunch with each step. There was an incredible peace and calm that fell, with very few noises of birdsong or rustling. As I rounded the corner to my favorite location to cut boughs, I came upon two young deer. They seemed surprised by my appearance, but not terribly concerned. One stood a few feet away and held my gaze for a few seconds before turning and leaping off.

Walking deeper into the forest, ruminating on the task at hand and soaking in the peaceful stillness surrounding me, I thought of a quote by John Burroughs: