Squeaking through the snow

Snowy day, after the warmest January on record. What I will miss if global warming continues: the feel of snow compacting under your shoes, that little crunchsqueak as your foot rolls through. It’s the same squeak that Silly Putty gives if you chew on it, FYI, though I recommend you take my word for that. Walked to work today through a white world with the fat flakes falling straight down, no wind. I tasted some snow from off a branch; I thought it might taste like these St. Louis specialties I hear about: Ted Drews or fried ravioli or that pizza on a cracker. But it seems to taste like it does everywhere–cold and little metallic. Maybe my vegan taste buds just aren’t attuned . . .

I feel very lucky to be able to walk to work. I have tried to mediate before, but I seem to have only two states: thinking and sleeping. Wakeful calm resting mind is not something I’ve been able to achieve. I am considering trying knitting, but whether or not I master Zen and the Art of Knitting (no doubt already a book), walking seems to do the trick. We overlook so much in our cars–signs of changing seasons (and they’re always changing, of course), signs of our neighbors’ interests and even health (Why are her flowers dead? His mail is piling up–vacation or illness? What are all these colorful flags people have now trying to say?). . . . My commute is about a half-hour, and in that time I can admire the flowers painted on my neighbor’s garage and the eagle sitting on another neighbor’s chimney. I can write and forget a whole platform address, a poem, and a letter to a friend I haven’t seen in 10 years. I can daydream like you wouldn’t believe. Now that I know all the major cracks in the sidewalk, I can even read a chapter of Patrick O’Brien. Try that in a car–actually, please don’t.

A proper waking meditation would probably have less thinking and reading in it, but it works for me. I arrive at my destination red-nosed but calm and happy. I never arrive calm and happy when I drive anywhere. It looks like this month might actually be winter. But if you’re able, pull on an extra pair of socks and get out there. If you’re not able, get someone to take a walk and give you a detailed report. It’s interesting out there on the other side of the glass.