I had finally made my way outward and into this world, venturing off as if a new explorer discovering this whole great planet all over again.
And with an almost hesitant awareness, I found my way into the city to meet a dear friend for coffee.
I had felt a bit down lately, with these approaching holidays, stuck in my home recuperating from a very long and difficult surgery. In some ways, I had wanted to shut my door to this whole ugly mess of holiday festivities, which I had tried my best to avoid in these last several weeks. Although, in my heart, I questioned—how can anyone really hide from Christmas?
But as we walked about, I couldn’t help but breathe in all of these most brilliant surroundings. I had been tucked away for what seemed so long, that these streets in some way felt “new” again. And with each step, it took me back, to a time when I was just so very small and the snow was still so very new.
I remembered sleeping anxiously the night before, my heart filled with the anticipation of knowing that the dark of this night would soon give way to brightness of that first snow. In the morning, I would bundle up into every piece and sort of protective winter warmings, and swing wide that big, steel door to our house… stopping for just a moment to admire this great and new wonderland.
There is a sound to winter, a sort of muffled stillness setting the stage for the symphony of gusting winds and cracking trees. And that first breath—that first big winter breath—would sting my lungs and force a gasp. Oh, how I would love to trample off into that deep snow, with all the force and determination and might my tiny little body could produce—pausing only just long enough to watch the clumps of snowflakes drop to the earth, and wonder how it was that they could always fall so effortlessly and perfectly into place.
Hours later, my mother would lure me in with promises of dry clothes, a spot by the fire and a mug of hot cocoa to warm my nearly frostbitten hands still buried somewhere deep inside my snow-caked mittens.
As night would begin to fall again, the only remnants of my day, would be a trail of snow-packed footprints somewhat shadowed in the moonlight and displaying for all the world to see, my each and every move on this cold, winter day. And even though this snow, was so familiar, with each passing season—just like this day—it always felt so completely and entirely new.
Convalescing can be quite the trickster, playing with our minds and moods in ways neither imagined nor expected. But as with all things, and specifically our life’s challenges, in some ways our biggest adversary can become our greatest teacher.
I had been so caught up in the process of being tucked away, that I had almost turned down this day’s meeting, somewhat fearful of the world around me and all those things left waiting for me. But something compelled me to venture outward, to take a chance, and believe again—if only just for today. To have the same faith and trust and wonderment, as I had “swinging wide” that door so many years before.
And as we walked along, sharing stories of these days and weeks gone by, I realized just how very lucky I had been. And I also realized, had I stayed tucked away into my inside world, I would’ve almost and most nearly missed this most wonderful gift—a reminder of seasons past, and the brilliance of being able to see this world as “new” again. But most importantly, I would have missed out on the very best gift of all— this gift of now.
Time moves with us or without us, never looking back to see if we’ve kept pace.
And it moves on irrespective of the things and stuff and matter of our days. But, if we’re able to approach each moment with the anticipation that precedes that first winter snow—with the same spirit, determination, and child-like incessant unstoppability from our many years ago—then we’ll have always, and most certainly, lived this now, well.
Happy Holidays, and namaste—may the gratitude that is within you, become the blessings that surround you.
Gratitude – by Louie Schwartzberg
Ed: Lynn Hasselberger