Treading lightly the path to enlightenment.

Posts tagged ‘winter’

Tonic Of Spring

Noni among the flowers

 

How I love the snow.

As Spring returns

As she is wont,

I’m sad to see it go.

 

Then “O! What’s this?”

Birds in red and yellow and blue!

And reaching up from Earth,

Crocuses in every hue!

 

And green!

For months the color only of pines,

Now returning to this yard of mine,

And in the trees it can be seen.

 

Tractors battle mud in fields

To carve the furrows

Rich and dark,

A sooner start for better yields.

 

Eagles nest. Osprey, too.

Foxes bare their kits in dens.

Skunks stretch from their winter’s sleep,

To join else other denizens.

 

In a month the sky will glow,

To warm and copper-tone my skin.

I will be chagrined to part

With this sweet Spring I’ve come to know.

 

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

 

 

In Days of Winter

Sumac Snow

 

In these, our bitter days of winter,

As bare trees stand, their feet ice cold in the snow,

Above our heads icy North Winds blow,

And from my eaves hang frozen crystal splinters,

 

 

Stalagtite Ice

Let us then retire to our rooms.

Where we’ll sip hot tea and clasp our hands

And know the warmth of love still stands,

While overhead, the Winter Rage looms.

 

Blizzard of ’18

 

No embers of wood, nor burning coal,

As their fire radiates its heat

Upon our faces, upon our feet,

Can, as the heart, so warm the soul.

 

 

Embers

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

One Perfect Day

Noni among the flowers

It seems we get this one perfect day in the spring.

The temperatures rise and we can go out comfortably, perhaps a light wrap is all we need.

The sun breaks through the spring rain clouds, and shines on the greening Earth.

Birds sing. Hyacinths and daffodils and colt’s foot and crocuses bloom gaily.

And then it’s gone.

Next day, all the flies come out, accompanied by the ticks.

Mud tracks everywhere.

Before you know it, someone is complaining about the summer.

One perfect day.

Demanding? Perfectionists? Ultra-sensitive?

Next thing I know, folks will be complaining about the heat and humidity, the mosquitoes, the lawns we can’t keep up with.

The memory of that one perfect day fades quickly, and is lost in all the terrible days of summer.

After suffering a lot of sunshine and birdsong and camping and fishing and relaxing, you’d think folks would be glad the awful summer is over.

September first, or Labor Day, someone will turn to me and say “Next thing you know, it’ll be snowing.”

And I’ll be glad this nasty summer business is behind us so we can get back to freezing and shoveling.

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

In Depth of Winter

Frosted Wonder Woods

In these, our bitter days of winter,
As bare trees stand, their feet cold in the snow,
Above our heads icy north winds blow,
And from our eaves hang frozen crystal splinters,

Let us then retire to our rooms,
Where we’ll sip hot tea and clasp our hands,
And know the warmth of love still stands
As overhead the winter rage looms.

No embers of wood, nor burning coal,
As the fire radiates its heat,
Upon our faces, upon our feet,
Can, as the heart, warm the soul.

 

Stay warm,

 

Paz

Farewell 2017

Depth of Winter

Outside there was that predawn kind of clarity, where the momentum of living has not quite captured the day. The air was not filled with conversation or thought bubbles or laughter or sidelong glances. Everyone was sleeping. All of their ideas and hopes and hidden agendas entangled in the Dream World, leaving this world clear and crisp and cold as a bottle of milk in the fridge. 

 -Reif Larson

Remind me why we do this

 

December 30 First

 

Remnants

All around lie the remnants of summer and fall.

These dry brown grasses, the tall and the small.

On Thursday Trail

Each conifer stretches, the low and the high,

Each stretches in vain its limbs to the sky.

Winter Sun

The sun swings low in its arc, non-chalant,

Neglecting her Earthbound petits-enfants.

Tug Hill snow

Tug Hill Snow

The Snow comes to slumber, and lumber around

Packing the Earth to hard, frozen ground.

Snow Devils

Smoke from chimneys dances and twirls, 

Having never seen the Summer World.

Fire ring

I’ll shutter the windows, put logs on the fire,

And patiently wait for the year to expire.

Sharon Center Sunset

As into the pink night sky sets the sun,

Another year’s ended, as another’s begun.

 

Best of fortune to all in the new (paper) year.

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

Welcome the New Year!

Solstice Sun

A circle is one of the most common shapes in our Great Cosmos (silica-based crystal chain structures right behind), and it is today our New Circle begins. In my view, today begins the new year. As our almost-perfect circle planet revolves around its perfect-circle sun in a far-from-perfect ellipse of an orbit, the Winter Solstice marks the top of the curve. Now days begin to lengthen incrementally for the next six moons until we reach the opposite end of our rolling year, and the longest day of Summer Solstice.

This marks a point on my journey. Like returning to home port, or passing the same old oak on a favorite trail. It is an ending and beginning in a single stroke. It is a benchmark, a touchstone, a point along a very long line when I make a hash mark as I hurtle past. There’s a slight thrill seeing the 57 past hash marks, and a certain excitement as I reach out, take a swing, and hang on for another orbit, another grand circle in the concentric and overlapping circles that make up the life of an old Armchair Zen master.

Not only is the New Year commenced, but also the “official” season of winter. Life in a Northern Town takes winter in stride. Not only passively, but in tangible and active ways. The Yankee winter is an integral part of our lives. It serves a great purpose for those of us that will undertake the understanding of it. It’s a trial and a test and a testament to our spirits. Not just surviving winter, bit thriving within and through it.

Each year, our Earth sort of throws down a gauntlet. Each year, we rise to the challenge and pick it up. It’s not all about active young people oblivious to cold and snow, skiing the High Peaks and snowmobiling 27 miles up the frozen Sacandaga Lake. It’s about the everyday and the mundane. Firing furnaces, sealing up drafts, shoveling the steps. Getting out the “Let It Snow” box filled with hats and gloves and scarves and mittens. It’s about getting to work when it’s 18 degrees and there’s four inches of snow on the road and it’s forecast to fall all day. It’s about walking the dog and fetching the mail from the box, checking the car’s oil and unloading the wood pellets while frigid air tries to sneak in around your collar, while your fingers grow numb with cold.

And when winter is done, there’s more reward than the flowers of spring and the return of American Robins. Even for those that may be unaware, surviving and thriving through a Yankee winter reminds us of just how strong we are. A reminder that gives us the strength to carry on for another year, another wonder-filled lap around our atomic anchor.

I have a covenant with winter. A vow to honor and cherish and forsake all other seasons when she comes to call, all gleaming and silver. I welcome and embrace her with open arms. Revere her. Laud her beauty. In return, she brings me gifts.

A quadrillion snowflakes. Vast tracts of ice-covered ponds and lakes.

Glazed hoarfrost dawns and golden ice-ringed sunsets.

Birds, the color of summer flowers, blue and red, black and white and yellow.

Like the migrations of fall or tulips of spring, she returns faithfully each year to me. She covers me with her downy quilt and beckons me to slumber.

Yet within each hour are wonders, joys and beauties to behold. Adventures to seek as only Dear Winter can oblige.

She calls me forth from my den, to drink it all in.

Before it is gone.

 

Happy New Year, and Merry Christmas to those that observe it.

May the peace of the Cosmos find you and keep you throughout the year.

 

Paz

The Wee Hours

Moonrise

Moonrise

Awake in the wee hours, the “middle” of the night.

The world feels quiet, sleeping, and close. The world seems smaller and more intimate. Or perhaps that’s just my world. Unencumbered by visitors and conversation, undisturbed by the constant chatter of the television.

Sassy June awakes, walks to the kitchen door with one eye open, as if to say “Time to get up?”.

Sleepless, I stare out the west window through the maple trees twice my age or more, and watch the stars. One disappeared, and I thought cloud cover must be blowing in. A few moments later, the star reappeared, and I realized I stared at it so long the planet moved beneath us. As our blue globe rotated, stars would vanish momentarily behind a branch, to pop up on the other side after a minute or two.

Standing beside the wood stove, I look out the south window. Across the road and down a hundred yards, small lights glow at Hillmeyer’s farmhouse. I can’t tell if they are porch lights or within the house. Light from my own kitchen window spills out onto the snow-covered ground beneath, illuminating an odd rectangle, stretched out of shape. A trapezoidal micro world that extends no more than five feet from me. I watch as the wind blows tiny things through the spotlight. Bits of autumn leaves, little crystals of snow, an occasional leaf of grass, dried and tan.

I consider the things I might do as long as I’m awake. Get out the easel and sort paints, maybe start a new canvas. Re-string fishing rods and ice-fishing tip-ups. Write a little.

I could post to the blog or read a few others, but the thought of the laptop and its noise, the light and the connectivity to the outside world seems offensive, intrusive.

I want to do nothing to fracture the fragile silence of this hour. Like sitting in church or attending a funeral, restful quiet is in order.

Winds blow.

Stars creep.

Man watches.

Before I know it, I am waking to the dawn in the chair beside the window.

February Dawn

February Dawn

Seek peace,

 

Paz

Trip A

Winter Sun

Winter Sun

 

My car has an odometer you can reset. Actually it has two, Trip A and Trip B. How you can have two trips at the same time in the same car I’m not quite sure.

Trip A reminds me of my life. Not the past, but the whole span including the inevitable end. This is it.

There is no Trip B in life.

Whatever I’ve done is done, and can’t be changed, taken back or undone.

Whatever I am to do I have this one life, this one trip, my Trip A.

When I was young I thought it was important to be someone, be something. Make your mark.

Funny how many songs written by twenty-somethings address life-view topics, including aging.

“Will you still need me when I’m 64?” written by twenty-somethings McCartney & Lennon.

You won’t find lyrics or poetry written by mature and senior wordsmiths addressing the angst of “will you be mine forever” or “my heart is broken and will never heal”.

Old poets write of the long view. The view from near the finish line.

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

As we grow nearer to that end gate, as we fulfill our promises made, we see our lives as a wondrous play that has had a record run. From our own silent mind, gazing out through eyes that have seen a fair share.
There is a certain comfort and confidence in our selfness.
I, alone in this island of body & mind, eternally isolated from all others, have a sense of being a part of something much larger.
There is no alone.
There are no guarantees that you will be mine forever or that I will be here for you when you are sixty-four.
In this we share. The rules are the same for you as they are for me.
My horse may think it queer to stop without a farmhouse near.
Between the woods and frozen lake.
The darkest evening of the year.
And Trip A just keeps moving forward. Mileage rising.
And I have miles to go…
Seek peace,
Paz

Snowstruck

Snowstruck

Snowstruck

I don’t know why

I was reminded of you by this

Gently falling silent snow.

 

As it softly caresses the Earth

I remember how you

Made me love you

So many wonder-filled

Years ago.

 

Downy Flake

Downy Flake

 

Pazlo

The Test

Remind me why we do this

Remind me why we do this

Humans love a challenge. Throw down a gauntlet, and someone will step right up.

A few hundred years ago there were great challenges to be embarked upon. The Northwest Passage, circumnavigation of the globe, settling the wild frontier of the New World, establishing the Oregon Trail, climbing to the summit of Everest, building the transcontinental railroad.

Nowadays, the great challenges lie entirely with experts. Scientists and Medical researchers. Landing on a comet, bringing samples back to earth. Finding cures for life-threatening diseases. Planning a manned mission to Mars. Back in the old days, anybody with a boat and a patron could set sail for adventure.

In my modern, comfortable, automated, mechanized life in the richest country in the world, it seems the greatest challenge sometimes is balancing the checkbook or sealing the drafty windows for winter. Unlike times past, there’s little worry about  heat, food, shelter, money, transportation.

And so, I must invent my own challenges. Winter is one. Not just surviving the winter shuttered in our rooms, sipping hot tea by the fire. Embracing winter.

Winter is a test. A test of fortitude, endurance, maybe sanity. I love the test.

Getting out in the Magic of winter is a challenge, but the rewards are many.

The Long trail

The Long trail

For one, there’s a standing promise to my dog, Chuy, that we will go out for a great hike whenever we can. This is often as much a challenge for him as it is me. This year, the snow piled up. Fluffy, soft snow. For the first half of the winter it was average, and good hiking. By the second half, the snow was still fluffy, and deeper than the length of an Akita’s legs. Stepping off the trail at the wrong point would plunge Chuy into snow up to his shoulders. Granular & powdery snow, like quicksand. More than once it was necessary to strike the path and cut a snowshoe trail to the floundering dog. I’m sure he would eventually swim his way out, but he’s older than I am (in dog years) and I can’t watch him struggle too much.

There’s also the cold, and in his golden years, Chuy’s feet don’t tolerate the sub-zero temperatures for long, and he’ll start lifting a paw. It’s actually two paws. His left front and right rear. We don’t hike when the temps are below 8 degrees.

Getting out into the winter is work. Boots, snowsuits, snowshoes, and gloves, gloves, gloves. Hats & scarves. That’s just another part of the test.  Willing yourself to step out the door is another. Once outside, the beauty of the season is all around. The sky seems bluer, the snow brighter. The winds whip up snow devils, dust the snow from pine boughs, blow drifts three or four feet deep across our snowshoe trail to the top of Nishan Hill, and beyond to the edge of the hardwoods.

 

I’m disappointed that I didn’t get more ice fishing in this winter, and now the season is over. It’s another challenge. To be out there, in the elements. To drill through fourteen inches of ice and set a tip-up line, five in a row. To feel a fish on the end of your line, while standing above the water, as far away from summer and boats as you can be. To pour hot coffee from a Thermos, the steam rising, committed to activities in the 15-degree air.

Engleville Pond, January

Engleville Pond, January

To reach down through the frozen pond and pull up a meal. A challenge and reward in one. I was alone on the pond in January, when I pulled a couple pickerel through the ice. Between flags, I’d listen to the quiet, study the snow-dusted mountains, observe the bright blue sky, vast expanses of ice, forests all around. There’s a difference between isolation and solitude.

We finally got a couple of snowmobiles going this year, another good activity to get us out of the inside and into the outside.

When I was growing up, my Dad was mad about snowmobiles. They weren’t as sophisticated (or expensive) back then, but they were every bit as much fun. A couple years ago, my Dad gave me his last sled, an ’83 Arctic Cat Jag 3000 F/C.

This winter, though the snow wasn’t perfect, my son-in-law brought his sled and his kids (grandson Max and granddaughter Elizabeth), and we spent a day riding the sleds around the same trails Chuy and I walked so frequently. Getting a 400 pound snowmobile unstuck out of three feet of powdery snow is quite a challenge, and lets you know which muscle groups you need to tone. We had hours of good old-fashioned fun, and I don’t think we ever noticed the cold. Funny how that happens.

Max & Matt

Max & Matt

Lizzy & Chuy

Lizzy & Chuy

Here we are nearing the end of March already, and, like last year, I feel a certain sadness that the snow is leaving for another year. Last year I did a post called So Long Snow, in which I expressed the same lament. Having survived and thrived, we immersed ourselves in the challenging season, and came out feeling accomplished.

We didn’t just live through winter, but lived it!

Blustering trail

Blustering trail

We’ve passed The Test for another year.

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

 

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