Winter was in full progress, but there was no snow (yet.)
Outside my window, the landscape stretched in unending shades of gray with barely a trace of color.
The word bleak came to mind. Or dull.
Or a handful of other unfavorable adjectives regularly tagged onto winter scenes.
Drab. Dreary. Depressing. Desolate. (What's with the letter "d"?)
And then I started noticing the sycamores, Platanus occidentalis.
The sycamore is best known for its unusual mottled bark which sloughs off in irregular patches to reveal shades of gray, greenish white, and brown. All year long, sycamore bark flakes off in uneven sheets, but it is chiefly in the winter that this unique beauty is noticeable.
people who aren't particularly memorable or noticeable
when life is green and growing.
When there's an ostentatious show of flashy performance
like autumn leaf wonder,
But when life turns bleak and cold,
when the colorful exhibition is gone,
and day simply follows day,
there they stand.
With understated beauty,
their presence adds depth and dignity to ordinary days.
They are quietly "there" making a difference simple by being there.
Look for them,
these quiet sentinels of beauty,
on your bleak/dull/drab/depressing days.
Watch for the sycamores.