The seed speckles the snow like buckshot piled neatly under the branch where we, fingers numbed, tied the little chalet to the lowest limb of the ancient maple. The birds stand staring as the squirrel swings slowly in the breeze.
The finches are struggling this morning, searching the lawn for the odd clover seed that’s yet to be reduced to dust by a summer where the rain has painted our world with a palette of parchment, ochre, leaving us wandering an increasingly sepia world.
We know that the rains will come again, that nature’s green will return, however briefly, before winter encases us all in its white mantle that we pierce at our risk.
The finches and wrens know, or simply care nothing of this and go on with their search, until the approach of the cat brings their effort to a sudden end.The finches and wrens know, or simply care nothing of this and go on with their search, until the approach of the cat brings their effort to a sudden end.
After all that has happened, after all of the changes tumbling one upon another, after breathing again new air, after ceding fear to hope when I sit down to write it all I have at the end is a small glass of snow in the middle of July.
When a leaf leaves the tree it falls precisely where it should. When a flower petal is carried off on a strong wind it comes to rest in the proper place. When you smell the sweet aroma of next summer’s roses use the nose you had before your parents were born.
A reflection on case 32 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo (The True Dharma Eye) Koans
As I stare out the window and watch the snow slowly build on the limbs of the now barren crab apple, painting it with a whiteness that bears heavily, giving the smaller branches a better view of the ground in which their fruit of the summer lies buried.
I am forced to wonder if the tree continues to watch me, if its vision is clouded by the snowy blanket in which it wraps itself this day, and if it does, what must it think of someone so sedentary when it, bearing its winter burden can still dance gently in the morning wind.
It is a day set aside for resolutions although there is no reason you cannot make a resolution any day of your choosing.
Perhaps it is a day for those resolutions you might not otherwise make, the bold or daunting, more likely a day for the resolutions you know you will abandon as too hard or simply utterly impractical.
This year I have resolved not to engage in the annual ritual, the annual farce more accurately, and will achieve a long-held goal of conceding failure early, in a new year that will afford myriad chances to come up short.
And there is a hidden blessing in my newfound resolve to swear off resolutions, so take that old Epimenides.
As winter closes in around us, even here, the Great Blue Herons go about building a nest, inviting us to watch as they make a home of gathered branches and twigs, oblivious to the state of our world, of the pandemic gripping us.
We watch respectfully, knowing that in this darkest of seasons, we are about to witness our own little miracle and will soon bear witness to the simple joy of birth.