Empathy and Compassion – Winter landscape with skaters by Pieter Brughel

Winter landscape with skaters by Pieter Brughel

Snowflakes delicately embrace the bark of the trees’ branches.

Winter’s white coat has wrapped the roofs of the church and homes. Two swallows swiftly woke up and are now trying to catch up with the rest of the flock, which departed early this morning to winter in warmer lands.

The church’s bells are chiming, waking up the village on this frosty and serene Sunday.

Nature has transformed water into ice and the sky into fog, turning the lake into an ice rink and the wind into a comforting melody, which swirls around each of the inhabitants’ bodies.

Bundled up in warm layers, both children and adults step carefully onto the frozen surface, slipping, their limbs flying in all directions, and then bursting out laughing. Hands are held and smiles are exchanged. The priest welcomes everyone to a hot cup of cocoa. Later that day, he will stroll around the village and check on the inhabitants, carrying a basket of cookies for the less fortunate, who will invite him over for a coffee.

Some seclusive families do not step outside during winter, despising the cold and feeling miserable. They stay close to one another, sitting quietly  before the fire, knitting, sipping their soups, and sharing the bit of comfort they have left to offer. Without realising, they are showing compassion and empathy to the world. Winter watches from afar, reassured and confident that the harder the weather he spreads across  his lands, the more love emanates from his children’s hearts.