Winter. He arrived with a vengeance during the last few days. Snow has piled up against any resistant object. The driveway, not so long ago pristine and ploughed, has many inches of the powdery stuff on it. And Snow has once more obscured the deck.
This year I've decided I am going to be vigilant in shovelling Snow off the deck as soon as she arrives. It is my place where I meditate, where I think over a problem, where I take my joys...and should Snow take over, as happened last year...I would miss the spiritual aspect of my walks along it sorely.
I shovelled yesterday, during a Snow Storm. I've shovelled many times already this year; it looks as if I will shovel at least a few more times before year's end.
I like shovelling. This powdery, flighty, light Snow, at any rate. It feels much like sweeping, to me...another activity I really love. My shovel and my broom...both have prominent spots on the deck, ready to be put to use at any given moment.
Both cleanse. Both move energy about. And sometimes, if I am in a somewhat downward spiralling mood, shovelling or sweeping becomes a metaphor.
This morning, after watching a depressing newscast, after visiting a few not-so-joyous news sites on the 'net, after hearing some negative news which made me worry...there was a bit of garbage I carried within me which required that shovel.
And what better way than to clear the deck...of Snow, of anger and frustration at my inability to use my fingers the way I once did, of general anxiety? Wrapping presents was the final straw,with those aforementioned trembling fingers. The shovel moves oh-so-smoothly through the powder light Snow! Nary an obstacle in the way.
Each shovel load is thrown over the deck railing, each representing a thing which has me bothered. It is very light, this Snow, yet bits of it persists in clinging to the shovel...and to me. But I will not let it. I stamp my feet, brush my coat and bang the shovel against the wooden deck.
The bright Winter Sun, peeking through Fog which surrounds the white-clad Forest, winks at me. I hear the message. I begin to notice the sparkling, absolutely pristine Winter's day with which I have been blessed.
Over and over, the shovel bites into the pile of Snow blanketing the deck. Over and over again, a shower of sparkling, crystalline Snow descends down the bank, giving more cover to the young perennials huddled in it. Each shovel load leaves me feeling lighter, refreshed, farther away from news I can do nothing about. My grim mood has left me, along with piles of Snow.
Even as I find I am beginning to adore the day, even as I find the hidden reserve of joy once more...I am very thankful, at the end of it, that I only have to shovel the deck. Our tractor takes care of the rest of it.
Yes. Winter has arrived; there is no doubt. Winter...a season of clarity, joy and depression, sadness and a sense of the if-onlys...and finally, understanding. Eventually, if I shovel long and hard enough, there is also acceptance and balance, once again.
As long as I use that shovel.
Happy holidays, everyone...and don't forget the shovel!