Thursday, January 12, 2012
A couple weeks ago it got cold. Single digits for a long time. Then, it started snowing. Usually, in Alaska, snow means warmer. This winter, it did not. We got several feet of fluffy, quicksand-like snow that moved around with the slightest breeze. Every time you shoveled, it undid your work, almost as you were doing it. Then came the wind. One night a few days ago, it blew. I could feel the house shake. In the morning, the already impressive drifts were incredible, sculptures, really. Knife-edged cornices, scoured spots where snow had been the day before and drifts well over my head in two places just on the way to my house. The snow was dense, too - and walking to my neighbor's house just a few hundred feet away, took serious effort. Ice jams on the roof backed up, causing minor floods near my stove that produced an amazing explosion-like sound when they splashed on the hot stove. Winter - the extreme version.
Yesterday I went out and shoveled for two hours. It was slow going, the snow, and just as I finished, it started coming down again. Now, it's nearly a white-out, piling up fast, creating stratus lines of fluff against the sliding glass door in the living room. More shoveling coming my way if I want to go get my Full Circle box.
The kids are now in Hawaii - they left Saturday night and won't be back for three weeks. Craig is also gone, as of yesterday, for two months. It's an interesting feeling - all this snow, quiet, calm, inspiring me to be home more. I'm sure at some point I'll start to need some sort of outside conversation, but at the moment it feels good to be alone, quiet, thinking.
This winter has seen the opening of another chapter in my life, one of introspection and a revisiting of the valuable things in life on an emotional level. I've never searched for a meaning to life beyond the general enjoyment of my family, friends, environment, etc. But more recently, a focus on deliberately considering what I pay attention to and indulge in on an emotional level has changed things in a big way. It's a shift. It's almost impossible for me to explain it to anyone yet. I wish I could. It's a feeling of inner peace. Of finally being comfortable, accepting, letting go of a lot of things, stories. Seeing people for who and where they are, with compassion. It has opened things up for me, made me embrace vulnerability and joy in a whole new way. It led me to Craig Matthews, my neighbor for 12 years, who I barely knew until recently, with whom there is a beautiful harmony. It led me to the writings of Richard Moss, whose very voice instills calm, and whose words give the world I live in a different shape.
Life is extraordinary in this way. Things come to you when you are ready for them. And when I needed time and space to be quiet, I got it. This morning, I read, practiced yoga, sat on the mat for a while and practiced quieting my mind. I love this about life - there is always something new to learn that adds another layer of depth to what is already an abundantly joyous life. Today, my great accomplishment is making an incredible lentil soup. What a joy!
And the snow falls and falls.