Monthly Archives: February 2014

A Glorious School for the Heart

 “Nature is a glorious school for the heart! I shall be a scholar in this school
and bring an eager heart to her instruction. Here I shall learn wisdom, the only wisdom that is free from disgust; here I shall learn to know God and find a foretaste of heaven in His knowledge. Among these occupations my earthly days shall flow peacefully along until I am accepted into that world where I shall no longer be a student, but a knower of wisdom.” – from Beethoven’s Diary, 1818

Okay, I’m going to risk being unpopular and say: I am loving this winter! And I’m happy to hear more snow is coming! Was that a snowball that just hit me in the back of the head? Could you at least have used less tired snow? – ick.

I’m not being sarcastic. This really has been one of the most beautiful winters ever. It’s true that I keep no kids or pets or car here, am able to adjust my days when snow comes and work from home, and go out just for pleasure and exercise. That makes a difference, I know. But before you pelt me with another white (uh, gray) stinger, let me share why I love the stuff:

Purity. Nothing is like snowfall. It defies imitation. In dusting the earth, even in blowing hard, it is purely and simply snow. It’s our atmosphere (so far we still have one) whirling about, dancing, coming to rest in windswept dunes. At the center of our hearts, we all love snow. What’s not to love? Snow is delicate, clean and white. It brings us back to something simpler, someone we remember, some place long gone. Snow brings intention. It has a clarifying effect. When it blankets us, we get to see what really counts – in our work and our play, on that day and on that shopping list.

Presence. Snow is a thing of this moment. Young and old, it has a quieting effect on our psyches and souls. Before it lays there, dirty and pee-stained and blocks our way, it’s a thing of beauty, right now. And we move differently through it – more conscientiously, softly and slowly. We think of ourselves and the person next to us. Like magic, snow brings out the best in us.  When it’s soft and fluffy and shimmering in sunlight, we love it. When it’s black and hard, we don’t. Everything that sticks around is like that. Settle too long in one place and you too will become dark and hard and be in someone’s way. That’s what snow does most for me. It nudges me back on the path.

Protection. Take heart. We’re going to have an amazing spring! Right now under all that protected ground, the earth and all its creatures are busy storing up their energies and reserves and protecting all the seeds. We call it the dead of winter, but there’s nothing dead about it. Another conceit of us humans, just because we can’t see something taking place. Nature doesn’t fault us. Soon she will gift us with a ground-breaking, death-defying, orgasmic Pop!, Pow!, Brr!, Shrrr!, Buzz! Breeeeee! Weeeee! Swang! Swing!….Spring! And that will be a great time for artists and lovers.

Poetry. Go ahead and take your inspiration now for snow is a poem. Snow is a story, a slice of a season, a gasp from a cloud. Snow is a pirouette, a prayer, a curse. It’s silence, a shadow, a whisper. Snow is light. It alights. Like a brushstroke, and a lyric. Thank God it’s here now and not coming down in July. That would really be shitty. Take your inspiration now. Take it before it’s gone. Gone for….good.

Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Feb 2014

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