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Easing the Journey Through Shadow & Light

  • Dawn

This Magical Brightness

Omicron is everywhere. Dr. Abraar Karan explains why cloth masks (and even some hospital-style masks) don’t cut it. Go for a certified N95, KN95 or KF94 --PLEASE! They even have some for kids now.

Anti-Anxiety Tool of the Week: Body Rests...

Here's one of my favorite poem-meditations, by Julie Henderson, creator of zapchen.

Like any good poem or meditation, the more time you spend with it the more it has to offer.

Body rests like a mountain

Breath moves like the sea

Heart like the sky

This Magical Brightness

Yes, yes, yes! Ecstatic-happy-snow-dance yes!

After weeks and weeks of daytime temperatures reaching the 50s and 60s and even an occasional foray into the low 70s, it finally began behaving like winter this week! The snow started Sunday night and continued to fall well into the day on Monday, accumulating 7-8 inches, at least for us here on the edge of town. The beauty and the blowing cold thoroughly warmed--and excited--the heart of this New England ex-pat in a way that nothing else can. When we get a good snow down here in Virginia, it is almost as if I've been living in a foreign land and have finally returned to my home port.

Why does snow do this to me? Aside from the beauty and the mystery it offers? Perhaps it is, in part, because snow often meant an unplanned holiday from school when I was a child, as it did for so many of us. And a chance to fly down the little hill behind our house on a sled, and on bigger hills elsewhere. The excuse to flop backwards onto the cold, get my coat and hat covered with snow, and create some magic angel art. Or build a snow fort or a snow-woman. Or have a snowball fight, getting plastered with the white stuff, then head home, thoroughly wet, freezing, exhausted but invigorated, for some hot soup, or hot cocoa. There's nothing like it--this immersion in the gorgeousness, and threat, of cold and snow, and then warmth and safety afterwards. Snow is part of some of my best memories from childhood. No wonder it feels like home.

I have, however, lived well south of New England for nigh on 35 years now, and (strangely) seem to have been growing older that entire time, so in reality I don't know if I could manage that kind of intense winter anymore--the kind that goes on for four or five or even six months, depending how far north you are. The kind that has you whimpering as it oh-so-slowly dissolves into...not spring...but mud season. And then finally...finally it shifts to what is often a cold and reluctant waking of the world, along about April. Or even early May.

And yes, after a few installments of shoveling and a slip or two on the icy ruts in the road, these aging bones and muscles are not quite so sure about the snow anymore either.

But, oh! it was lovely Monday morning. The stillness. The simplicity. The vastness of the feathery white comforter. The muffled slowing down of the world.

Snow filled the landscape, and my heart, with such beauty.

In Winter Holiday, book four of Arthur Ransome's wonderful "Swallows and Amazons" series (near the top of my "best British children's lit" list!) young Dorothea, who has grown up in London, wakens after a night of snowfall in the Lake District, well north of London.

"Dorothea...leapt out of bed and ran to the window. There was a new world. Everything was white, and somehow still. Everything was holding its breath. The field stretching down to the lake was like a brilliant white counterpane without a crinkle in it....The lower branches of the old fir were pressed right down to the ground by the weight of the snow they were carrying...The snow seemed to have spread downwards from the tops of the hills until everything was covered. It lay like a slab of icing on a slice of cake along the stone wall of the garden...And there was this magical brightness in the air. At home...Dorothea had seen snow more than once, where it lay for a few hours in the streets, growing grimier from the smoke until it was swept into dirty heaps along the gutters. She had never seen anything like this."

I loved having the opportunity and freedom to play out in the snow as a child. I had a warm coat and hat and mittens, a warm house to go to afterwards, and soup or cocoa to warm my belly, hands and soul. I know a lot of kids didn't. And don't. But I'll try to channel any guilt I might feel into gratitude. Because guilt pulls me down, tends to paralyze me. But gratitude can help free me up to offer a generous heart and hands to those who struggle to be here.

May you experience the stillness and beauty and excitement of snow and cold. And gratitude for having a warm place before and after. And the generosity that can come from gratitude.

Until next time,


Photo credits:

Mountain-sea-sky, Alvaro Reyes, unSplash

Snowy fence, Jim Gouw, unSplash

Trees in snow, Brian Jones, unSplash

Frosted window, D. Hunt



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