Friday, January 8, 2010

The Silence of Snow

I sit in my living room and listen.  There is no noise, there is only quiet.  But it is not a silence, it is a quiet that gives voice to snow. We have much to be told by the snow.  Not just the realization of cold and inconvenience, but the lessons of nature in all of its manifestations.

I look out the windows and watch the snow fall; it is a gentle descent to the ground for the most part.  On occasion the wind causes disruption to the pattern through a chaotic dance of chance.  Creating drifts in some areas while leaving the protected space beneath a tree relatively snow free.  But there is no "snow free" area in reality, only small oasis' in an otherwise desert of white flakes.  The dog finds those safe havens, the less deep pools of frozen water.  She has to in order to take care of her own needs.  And so the snow has spoken to me saying that even when things may seem overwhelming and unmanageable there are places of relief if you look hard enough.  Sometimes you need to create these spaces, but nature will provide the opportunity.

The snow speaks to me of obligations fulfilled and promises created.  Nature has taken care of us in the past.  She gave us light, warmth, food, air, the ability to walk freely and enjoy the smells and sounds of growth, and the freedom to enjoy all that she is.  She has fulfilled her obligation of giving us a time to run.  It is our turn to wait while the land slumbers.  This is our half of the obligation, to allow the earth to rest and take care of its own needs.  We have been given the tools and the sustenance to take care of ourselves during this time.  That was our agreement with nature, give us the warmth half of the year allowing us to gather strength to move forward and in return we will take care of ourselves while you sleep silently under your blanket of white.  The obligation given last year has been fulfilled.

A new promise is created.  One that says I will return and once again allow you to feel the warmth of the sun on your face, but at the moment let me rest.  Our half of the promise is to be understanding and appreciate the slower tempo of life that winter brings.  It is not necessary to always move quickly; spinning faster and faster until we lose control of who we are becoming.  Snow intentionally slows us down.  It restricts our movements when we try to navigate through it, forcing a change in clothing that both protects and limits our bodies.  We can resist this slowing if we wish, but to what end?  Is it not better to slow down on occasion rather than always run through life?  If we listen to what the snow says then we find the answer.  Be encased in your cocoons and emerge in the spring refreshed and whole, ready to move freely in the sun.

So I listen and hopefully I understand what it is that the snow is trying to tell me.  I look forward to warmer days when I can work my garden, watch my grandchildren run, and move freely unencumbered by layers of of clothing.  But for now I sit back and watch the snow fall gently, silently, to the ground gracefully rocking back and forth. I will enjoy the warmth of the hearth inside my home and enjoy the beauty of the white sun of winter as it crosses the sky.  I will walk out at night in the darkness and see crisp, clear starry heavens and find the winter's constellations.  I will not bemoan this time; like the earth I will replenish the soul and enjoy the depth of winter that in truth is necessary. 

I suppose that is the greatest thing that the snow tells us to remember. If it were not for this time, there would never be a spring.

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