The snow came down heavily yesterday, whitening the world and leaving everything pristine and new. I knew what was under the snow, but that’s not what I saw when I looked out my window. Instead I felt the hush of steady snowfall, I saw trees white on the windward side, saw an occasional bird landing silently on the window sill to look for a sunflower seed. Everything slowed around and in me and was at peace. A grace-filled end to the year.
This morning, January 1, 2009, has dawned bright and clear. The sun is shining, making the branches a sharp contrast of nearly black bark and white snow almost too bright to look at. I’ve been hearing the small thunks of Titmice and Juncos landing, quick whirrings of their wings as they take off, the scratching and sliding of a squirrel climbing down the gutter to the bird seed on the sill. Usually I chase him away, but this morning I’ll let him eat for a while. It’s cold out, and he looks thin. A male Red-bellied Woodpecker moves back and forth on an ash tree, searching for insects to warm his belly. A herd of deer slips through my field of vision leaving many sharp hoof tracks.
All is peaceful and alive, the animals and birds living fully in each moment, as the present melds into the future.
A new year for me, according to the Gregorian calendar. Somehow our January 1 seems to me to come at an odd time for starting a year. Why not rather the winter solstice or perhaps the vernal equinox? As the days start lengthening or the world is ripe with the promise of spring? However, according to our calendar, today is the day, and it seems like an auspicious start, with the bright sun and clear skies.
Looking ahead, I want to live more fully in the moment, aware of life and beauty around me, with a willingness, no, an eagerness, to ride the present into the future. I want to look back and know the truth, but see the wonder and purity of grace covering that which I don’t need to carry forward with me, and be thankful.