Winter Reminder

All of the sudden, winter is upon is again. In the morning, snow and sunshine engage in a cross fire over the mountaintops, here a cloud and flurries, there a blue patch of sky. Tonight, it’s a record-breaking (for April) fifteen degrees out with winds rolling down the slopes of the Blacks, hushing the valley into a frigid sleep.

Over the course of the morning, the wood stove brings the house temperature up from 47 degrees to a healthy 61 (in the loft – heat rises) but still, I wear my wool cap indoors and double up on socks, kick snow from the front stoop, and hustle through the brush for more wood. My pee bucket it frozen yet again – what can I say? A final gift from this valley before I depart, perhaps.

The quiet of snow stays with me, even as afternoon warmth melts it from rooftops, cars, and eventually the ground. I meditate. I read. I bake. I stretch. The Buddhists say that life in the relative truth, or in our everyday existence, is samsaric. We are always wanting and therefore never in the present moment. This is a cyclical form of suffering that we can try and liberate ourselves and others from. These days, it takes a vast halting of the world around me to recall that cycle, name it again for what it is, and commit a few moments to escaping it. In this way, snow is my teacher, all around me and underfoot, ever-changing, and always awe-inspiring.

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