Before we get to the lineup of adorable animals in winter snow, can I just say I would be deeply happy to someday write even half as well as poet Mary Oliver, who uses imagery and lyrical flow naturally and masterfully. With just a few words, she always manages to touch my soul and leave it overflowing with beauty. I always feel joined, and I think it’s because she understands the artist’s heart. And silence. And introspection. When she writes about early snow, I am reminded of all the lessons nature provides as it teaches us to let go and let be if only we will slow our pace and humble ourselves to be engaged as students.
by Mary Oliver
Amazed I looked
out of the window and saw
the early snow coming down casually,
almost drifting, over
the gardens, then the gardens began
to vanish as each white, six-pointed
snowflake lay down without a sound with all
the others. I thought, how incredible
were their numbers. I thought of dried
leaves drifting spate after spate
out of the forests,
the fallen sparrows, the hairs of all our heads
as, still, the snowflakes went on pouring softly through
what had become dusk or anyway flung
a veil over the sun. And I thought
how not one looks like another
though each is exquisite, fanciful, and
falls without argument. It was now nearly
evening. Some crows landed and tried
to walk around then flew off. They were perhaps
laughing in crow talk or anyway so it seemed,
and I might have joined in, there was something
that wonderful and refreshing
about what was by then a confident white blanket
carrying out its
cheerfiul work, covering ruts, softening
the earth’s trials, but at the same time
there was some kind of almost sorrow that fell
over me. It was
the loneliness again. After all
what is Nature, it isn’t
kindness, it isn’t unkindness. And I turned
and opened the door, and still the snow poured down,
smelling of iron and the pale, vast eternal, and
there it was, whether I was ready or not:
the silence; the blank, white, glittering sublime.
Let’s enjoy the quiet stillness and peace of winter snow and these adorable creatures in nature.
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I wish you the strength of a tree in the forest, bending not breaking in the storm.
I wish you playfulness and resilience to adapt when the cold winds blow.
I wish you wings to carry you to where it is safe.
I wish you sweet dreams of what may come.
I wish you calm, quiet stillness, if only in the recesses of your spirit.
I wish you smiles through trials (which are deepening you and increasing your courage)
I wish you friendship on your journey.
I wish you child-like wonder, no matter your age.
I wish you confidence as you pursue your dreams.
I wish you tenderness and mercy.
I wish you resourcefulness and a wealth of creativity.
I wish you impossible beauty to heal what is hurt.
I wish you love in every corner of your being.
It’s 70-something, and I’m studying a palm tree near my window at the moment. Soon I will return to bitter cold and snow, and since I prefer to embrace it as a blessing, not a curse, I am calling upon these images of sacred gifts in nature and snow to transform my perspective. I have always dreaded the dead of winter with its grey skies. But I believe it’s possible to be intentional about shifting our attitudes and judgments toward daily circumstances which bring with them highs and lows. Allowing reality to be reality is not becoming inactive. Storms come and the weight of the snow beckons action. But we can allow resistance and the unexpected to grow us in ways we would not have chosen for ourselves. It takes courage and a measure of trust to live that freely. Believe me, I would rather keep my sticky fingers all over the controls and orchestrate the snowflakes and the journey every step of the way. Yet that path never led me to peace. So I consent to daily transformation and daily surrender, where all things become new.
Let it snow. Let it go. Let it be.
I wish you peace right where you are.