School's out for Christmas vacation

School's out for Christmas vacation

Day nine of this outdoor adventure series.  356 days to go…. Today would have been the typical day I would have stayed inside.  The snow alternated between blowing near white-out conditions, then completely disappearing.  We call this “lake effect” snow.  Inland, nary a flake may fall.  Near Lake Superior the cold winds move across the warmer lake water providing energy and picking up water vapor which freezes and is deposited on the lee shores.  According to Wikipedia anyway.  I am assuming we are the definition of “lee shores”. 

I felt blue today, possibly because of my daughter’s departure yesterday.  Or possibly because I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and couldn’t return to sleep.  It might have been a day to remain inside, but no.  The outdoors beckoned and called and clamored.  So I opened the door and went outside.

Because the pictures were already taken yesterday and the day before, I didn’t need the camera.  Instead, it seemed apropos to do some outdoors meditation.  Instead of busily looking for the next photo shot, this proved a good opportunity to just be present.

Is everyone familiar with meditation?  Here’s a simple explanation: meditation is the act of being fully present with whatever is happening now.  Very simple.  Usually our thoughts intrude like noisy burglars, stealing away our peace of mind.  We follow our thoughts and emotions, hardly realizing that we’re not really seeing the trees, hearing the birdsong, watching the wind whip snow-spirals into new drifts.  We miss the dried leaves on the branches, the whirring sound of a distant snowmobile, the whorls on the tree bark.  We may think we’re present, but we’re not.  We’re often in this dream-land of thoughts, removed from our current physical reality.

So today I simply meditated.  Continued to pull myself back into the present.  Gently noticed that the thoughts were steam-engine chugging and returned to survey the landscape.  Felt the feet in the boots, the fingers in the mittens.  Breathed.  Took a few steps.  Witnessed the thoughts and feelings starting again; returned to the Present.  Again and again and again.  For a half hour, or was it an hour? 

It is so satisfying to do this.  Instead of being peripherally involved in the outdoors, one continues to open to it, over and over again.  One warning.  Do not chastise yourself for Thoughts!  They are natural.  Instead, just gently keep returning to the present.  It’s a lovely gift to give oneself.

Snowman Joy!

Snowman Joy!

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