Thursday, February 4, 2016

Curled up in a Winter Zen

This morning was cold, quite cold and quiet as snowflakes silently fell, muffling normal Winter morning sounds of chickadee-dee-dees and nuthatches. Winter snowfalls, without winds howling, often remind me that Nature wants us to slow down during this season, perhaps, even, contemplate hibernation, before we reject it as too impractical. We follow the lead of the local squirrels and birds who do their best to keep to their normal routines of food and water and shelter and ....

rooster pheasant in Winter
rooster pheasant in Winter
Photo by J. Harrington

Soon I hope to hear the drumming and knocking of pileated and other woodpeckers as they slowly switch from suet to insects. We should see goldfinches start to show brighter colors although they still won't be as colorful as the pheasant rooster that flew in front on me a day or so ago. Now that we have something more than a crust of snow cover, I'm going to start watching for snow fleas as we get closer to March. I had read about them for years without ever actually seeing any until, a few years ago, my Better Half noticed some on the snow in front of the house and pointed them out to me. Then, as the snow melts and starts to freshen local streams, we can look for the emergence of the snow-covered moss on top of the downed trees in the local woods. But most of that is weeks away. Today is a good day to recall the Zen proverb: "No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place."

Zen Living

By Dick Allen
Birdsongs that sound like the steady determined tapping
of a shoemaker's hammer,
or of a sculptor making tiny ball-peen dents in a silver plate,
wake me this morning. Is it possible the world itself can be happy? The calico cat
stretches her long body out across the top of my computer monitor,
yawning, its little primitive head a cave of possibility.
And I'm ready again
to try and see accidents, the over and over patterns
of double-slit experiments a billionfold
repeated before me. If I had great patience,
I could try to count the poplar, birch and oak
leaves in their shifting welter outside my bedroom window
or the almost infinitesimal trails of thought that flash and flash
everywhere, as if decaying particles inside a bubble chamber,
windshield raindrops, lake ripples. However,
instead I go to fry some bacon, crack two eggs
into the cast-iron skillet that's even older than this house,
and on the calendar (each month another oriental fan
where the climbing solitary is dwarfed . . . or on dark blue oceans
minuscular fishing boats bob beneath gigantic waves)
X out the days, including those I've forgotten.


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