A meditation for winter

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Pyrrha in the snow.

I despise the cold, but I’m finding some joy in the winter this year. This attitude has been helped along by daily walks, with the aid of competent warm-weather gear and my good German shepherd, the perfect walking companion; more time to read, and read by the fire; and the quietness of the landscape. This winter, more than others, feels like this restful season of anticipation. Spring brings new life (literally for our household this year), and I am enjoying thinking of winter as a time for appropriate dormancy.

A poem along those lines:

“The Cold”
Wendell Berry

How exactly good it is
to know myself
in the solitude of winter,

my body containing its own
warmth, divided from all
by the cold; and to go

separate and sure
among the trees cleanly
divided, thinking of you

perfect too in your solitude,
your life withdrawn into
your own keeping

to be clear, poised
in perfect self-suspension
toward you, as though frozen.

And having known fully the
goodness of that, it will be
good also to melt.

. . .

On patience

Spring is the hardest season to wait for. Especially here in the low-lying mountains of Virginia. Spring showed its lovely face for a few days back in March and then retreated. The sun has been rare for weeks and the high every day is barely over 40. This is depressing, but I am trying to be patient. (It is the worst.) However, this weekend promises better days! Tomorrow, it might even reach the 50s! And the Charlottesville Farmers’ Market is opening again. Anna and I are going to meet there, make brunch, and then take her German Shepherd for a walk around town. These are all nice things. See, Spring, don’t you want to come visit now? Doesn’t it sound pleasant here? It would be even pleasanter if you would grace us with your presence.

Waiting for spring is hard. Waiting for things in general has always been hard for me. Having freshly turned 23, I have decided that this will be The Year of Patience. The year of waiting for a dog. The year of waiting for life plans to materialize. The year of just waiting, not expecting anything, but waiting with contentment.

Something I’ve been doing that has helped increase my store of patience and contentment: Every night before I fall asleep, I write down something I’m thankful for on an index card. I’m saving them in a fat photo album. I started doing this on January 1, 2011, and plan to continue it until the year is over. It’s hard to be sad or anxious when you realize that you have literally hundreds of things to be thankful for.

Have a patient weekend. I will be trying!

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience…