Saturday, January 7, 2017
A Gift of Snow
Welcome to the new year. Here in the USA we're having this thing called winter. This week gifted me with the first snow of 2017. It wasn't a lot, and the picture above is actually an older one I took several years ago. Our accumulation is much more modest this time around.
Winter is another country. It is dark, it is cold, and it seems forever. Being from the sunshine state originally I've had a hard time adapting to winter. It really curtails my activity. Post holiday blues often hit hard the week after new years. I start thinking about what I am going to do in the spring and summer. This is of course not living in the now. I've learn to tolerate winter but I am still learning to enjoy it. I got a boost Thursday with the snow. The snow fall was that light fluffy stuff, instead of the heavy wet flakes. As I was walking into my morning class, it fell gently in front of me in huge flakes. As it landed on my gloves I got to see the individual snowflakes. They were beautiful. Not every snow falls in a way that you can see that characteristic crystalline pattern, but this one did. Each flake was a delicate flower of white crystal. Each time they fell it was a tiny work of art blessing me.
In shamanism, everything is alive and has a spirit. Snow has a spirit, and from various journeys I can tell you it loves us and it falls in perfect joy. We human beings have a different view of it, especially if we have to shovel a lot of it or be out in it. In ages past snow gave many time to rest. Travel ceased in many places. Life slowed and we turned inwards. These days people either freak out about it, or they ignore it and drive crazy. (Which explains the freaking out part for the rest of us). I myself limit my travel in winter. It is not the time for wandering. I save that for when the southerly and western winds call. When we step back from the pace of modern life we can appreciate the beauty of winter and snow. It blankets the faded ground. It reflects the dim light brightening the world when the sun is scarce. It brings the quiet. Silence settles on the outside as the sound is muffled by the snow. The very air becomes filled with quiet sacredness. It is almost as if Mystery is holding its breath about to utter a great secret. When we rush we risk not only accident, but we risk missing the beauty in the world.
So why am I telling you all this. Well the decorations are mostly down in our homes. The lights have been turned off. We've been surrounded by artificial symbols of beauty and hope. The days can seem dim, and the nights dark and full of terrors. (Yes a Game of Thrones reference I couldn't help it). It is time now to seek that light and beauty in the world around us. How we respond to winter is a testament to our energies. We do not have the abundance of sun and green growing things to buttress our spirits. This is all us right now. Now we must lift our own spirits and the spirits of those around us. It is no accident that so many holidays fall around the darkest part of the year. They are there because we need them to be there. Now, as we move through Winter's country the light we carry will be our own. We are responsible for bringing light into the darkness. We are called to bring warmth into the cold. We are charged with finding the beauty in the bare bones of the land. We are summoned to be compassionate to the creatures of the earth, ourselves included. So bless the snow in its beauty as it falls as it blesses you. Be present in the long nights, for here now in Winter's country the stars are bright.
Peace and Blessings,