Being Breath

stories from the wilderness of everyday life

Winter

winter has a way of breaking you down.

For yet another morning, I wake to the driveway covered in snow.  While the kids get ready for school, I shovel.  Again.  The wind continuously whips the scarf off of my face, leaving me to inhale a blast of icy air ... and to curse while I try to shove the scarf back into my puffy coat.

I push the shovel across the driveway.

The kids on the bus, most neighbors gone at work or huddled in their homes, it is quiet.

Save for the hissing snow as it blows across the hills, down the slope of the roof, and through the tired branches of the trees, and save for the occasional bird that sings out in oblivion to - or perhaps in spite of - or perhaps in harmony with - the chill.... it is very still.

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Alone with my thoughts, I try to stay positive.  With each shovel-full of snow I toss, the wind blows a dusting back my way.  My jeans become saturated from this repeated game, and my legs are now red from the biting moisture.

Listen to the birds are singing. My legs are freakin' COLD.  Look at the glitter on that snow - isn't it pretty? My shoulders ache.  I think I pulled a muscle.  Perhaps I should stop...  All of this exercise I'm getting - hey, no regrets about not hitting the treadmill this morning!  I hope the kids are safe on the bus.  It was stupid that they even had school today, with the roads they way they are...

I give up being positive.

I decide to just be present.

There are no rosy glasses.  Yes, the snow is glittering and birds are singing and I have a warm home to return to.  But my legs also hurt, my tears are frozen to my eyelashes, and the blisters on my hand are making it painful to lift the shovel.

all of this is what it is.

winter has broken me down.

I have no more longing for more powdery mist to swirl around our evergreen tree, nor do I have any longing for the sun to melt this all away.

My thoughts race on in gusts as strong as the wind - the damn wind that has once again blown my damn scarf off of my face.  I have no idea why some of these thoughts that I am having are arising, but they are - and I am crying.  Any defenses I had against this swell of emotion are blasted through.  My shovel hits a block of ice, sending a seering pain up my arm.  I slam the shovel down on the ground and just look out over our neighborhood.

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A mini snow-tornado dances across the street, and I notice a hefty squirrel plowing its way through a snow bank before scampering up the tree.  I can hear the snow plow, scraping along the street - somewhere, many streets away.  I can feel the warm droplets of moisture from every exhale on the tip of my nose, dampening the scarf that has decided to temporarily stay put.

One inhale, one exhale.

I pick up the shovel, and scrape another path across the driveway.

Namaste.