Small Stone: Surprise Snow
Maybe it had been forecast and I just wasn’t paying attention, but on a later than normal walk at City Park, we are surprised by the snow. It falls slowly at first, but quickly gets more intense. Some people at the park are exercising in shorts, so I guess they hadn’t expected snow either.
Half way around the park, the snow and wind are blowing hard enough I have to look down at my feet, can’t easily see or breathe if I look straight ahead. The snow muffles everything, turning the park cold, white, and quiet.
Small Stone: Book Light
Getting in bed for the night, I notice the pattern my book light makes on the wall. It reminds me of light broken, rippling and refracted, reflecting in a pool of water, a puddle, a lake, the river, the ocean.
Small Stone: My Journals
Yesterday, I worked on cataloging my journals from the past ten years (a project I’d started earlier but never finished), putting book plates with date ranges in the covers, reading various passages, and stacking and organizing them by date. I showed Eric, noting how interesting it was that the piles from the last few years got increasingly taller, and how many of the ones from 2001-2009 weren’t completely full, still had empty, blank pages. He said it looked like a bar graph.
What I noticed most–besides how much more I am writing now, after struggling with writer’s block for decades–is something I notice when I reread posts from this blog: my struggles don’t really change that much over time, and even as I struggle, there is so much wisdom there. I like to imagine the real change, the one the “bar graph” illustrates, is the increase in compassion I’ve applied to the process. What I’d like to think is that the real change is I am kinder to myself, more present and a better friend. This isn’t just a small stone, it’s more like a whole river bed of rocks.
TL;DR: I catalog my journals from the past ten years and notice that while I still struggle with many of the same things, I have wisdom, I am kinder, and I am writing more and more.
Small Stone: Group Meditation
A large group gathered at the Fort Collins Shambhala Meditation Center to hear the Level 1: The Art of Being Human (“Discovering basic goodness in the world and ourselves”) opening night talk. We are sitting, a few moments of group meditation before the teacher arrives. We have settled in and are silent and still, a collective calm having fallen over the room. Then, a woman’s cellphone rings. She grabs her purse and hurries out of the meditation hall.
The energy of her exit causes a wave of movement. People shift and stretch, cough or clear their throat, and a few check again to be sure their cellphones are turned off or muted. By the time the woman returns to her cushion, the room has once again gone quiet. I am reminded of how karma works, cause and effect, the way the energy of one person ripples out and impacts the world around them. In every moment, you have the opportunity to rock the boat or to row, or even to remain quiet and still, simply floating in the moment as it is.
Meditation Hall at Warrior Assembly, Shambhala Mountain Center, Summer of 2009
Small Stone: Kitchen Faucet
Smooth, sleek, silver. With little effort on my part, a soft pull on the handle, clear, fresh, clean, drinkable water, any temperature I want, as much as I want. I am reminded (as I am so often) that I am lucky, that so many others have so much less. I feel gratitude (also guilt) for my situation, send out a prayer for those who are suffering, and recommit to not wasting a single drop, a single moment of my precious luck, of my opportunity, my chance, my life.
Small Stone: Two Boys
In the living room, where there are two couches, two dog beds, a chair, and no humans, you two boys cuddle together at one end of one couch. When I first find you there, you (Sam) have tucked yourself as tightly as you can fit against Dexter, your head resting on his back. Your chins are both so white, Dexter’s because of age and yours because it’s a typical marking of your breed mix.
Dexter was pretty happy as an only dog for those four months before you came, at least for the part after he’d recovered from Obi’s loss, but I know he’s happier with you around–even when you steal his toys or crowd him when it’s treat time or push him out of the way to get attention from the humans. The two of you give each other something we can’t, understand each other in a way I’ll never be able to, even though I am also pretty good at cuddling in a pile on the couch.
Small Stone: My Face
Looking in the mirror, I really see my face. I notice my mouth, how the top lip rises into two perfect points, a shape that seems almost wasted on someone whose only “makeup” is Strawberry Chapstick.
I’m usually don’t notice the shape of my mouth, had forgotten it, because I’m distracted by my soft neck, an unfortunate family trait, or surprised by the deepening lines around my mouth, my eyes and my forehead, or the dark circles under my eyes, or my unruly brows.
I forget my dimple and the color of my eyes–each one uniquely shaded, an unmatched pair, hazel but the mix of blue, brown, and gold shifts, like the changing colors on the surface of the river.