It happened this morning.
I saw my first snowflakes of the season.
Maybe it's something that still lingers on since school, but seeing the first snow is always an experience of great joy. In that little instant, I smell the fireplace, the cinnamon, the pumpkin pie, the warm blankets, and the supreme stillness in the air.
That joy, in itself, makes me more joyful. Have you experienced that? Getting a kick out of the fact that you're getting a kick out of something? It's a feeling of being present, I think.
All the trouble of winter is not yet here. Just a few snowflakes, like the first robins returning in spring.
In elementary school, my bus stop was about four house down the street. That little street corner housed a large shrubby tree, the sort of tree you could crawl inside, and it would hide and shield you from the day. Many winter days I would shuffle down the street, puffed up like the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man in all my winter garb, and I would press my way into the tree and be in my own world. A world where the wind did strike at your bones. A world where the snow was held at bay. And for a few minutes those mornings, there was a calm and peace that filled every ounce of me.
The last 2 years I have been touring through Wyoming for the Christmas holidays. The great northern Rocky Mountains must indeed have been the inspiration for Winter Wonderland. The pure snow blankets everything and makes you almost swear that the whole scene is faked. The air is still and cold, but fragrant. And clear. The mountains in their yoga reach far into the sky. The rivers fight the frost. And the land seems to meditate.
We'd always have Christmas music swinging as we put up and trimmed the tree. Each ornament would allow a moment of where it came from, before figuring out where it would be going. The fire would be crackling. My dad napping on the couch. And once the lights were up, of course we'd turn off all the other lights, and sit with the twinkle for what seemed like hours.
Actually, my fondest Christmas tree memories involve sitting alone in the dark room late at night, and just being by the sparkling lights. Their reassuring glow could hold me for hours.
And so it is that the brilliant little snowflake finds me as it whirls beyond my vision before uniting with the spruce tree nearby.