The week of Valentine’s Day moves many of us to express our love to those near and dear to us. As well, this week, with our wonderful 45 cm snow fall, had me professing my love for snow days! Today, as Marian and I were out skiing, I realized that snow was also my teacher. Well, specifically snow in St. John’s, NL. Especially this winter. Is my teacher.
Let me explain. It’s been a hard winter here for snow lovers on the Avalon Penninsula. The last time I was on skis was the first weekend in January. Why? Because, most of the Atlantic storms thus far haven’t come far enough east to blanket us with white…or the few times they did, they were immediately followed by rain, rain, and more rain. This resulted in lovely dry streets for drivers, incredibly slippery sidewalks for pedestrians, and icy trails for hikers…in other words, a completely useless winter for those who like to ski, snowshoe, and snowmobile.
This past Thursday we got a snow day! Yay! A great storm that dished up 45 cm of snow, a day off from work, and a good solid white blanket just ready for play and exploration. We spent a good chunk of the day out yesterday snowshoeing with friends and today skiing. I have rosy cheeks, my legs are wonderfully spent, and I feel a peaceful ease that comes from time spent outdoors.
“Hey,” you say, “What about the snow as teacher part?”
What I’ve loved seeing today, yesterday, and Friday…is people getting out to enjoy the snow. Lots of people!!! Pippy Park was filled with walkers, sliders, skiers, dog walkers, hikers, snowshoers, snow kiters, and winter campers. People choosing to drop all other agendas, to do lists, etc. to get out and have fun in the great white east. Now. Today. In this present moment. Why? Because snow here is fleeting. It is precious. It can be here today and gone tomorrow. We can’t take snow for granted here at all.
The same is true for life. One of the most powerful Buddhist teachings I received was to appreciate my precious human birth and to contemplate that death can came suddenly without warning. I try to live these teachings every day but it is easy to forget/put aside/not to face that reality. So today, (as is often the case for me outside/on mountains), I had a lived experience of the teaching.
Snow is precious. Enjoy it now for tomorrow it may be gone (especially since we are getting rain and potentially thunderstorms tonight).
Life is precious. Enjoy it now for tomorrow it may be gone (for you or for someone you love).
The present moment is precious. Enjoy it now for now it is gone and another moment replaces it. Enjoy this moment and every moment.