On some January mornings the sun rises and casts lemon shadows against the blue-shadowed snow.
In the night deer nibble spruce branches and bed beneath them during this dark phase of the moon.
I love the blossoming of our Christmas cactus plant. For years it sulked dormant on top of the refrigerator, refusing to display its pink blooms. Then we moved it next to the sliding glass door, facing south, and it burst forth with its delight.
This year dozens upon dozens of flowers turn petaled tips toward the mid-winter luminosity before gently falling upon our green carpeting.
I gather them reverentially, placing them in crooks and crannies around the plant pots for further admiration and drying.
And then one fine day, when the spirit strikes, I gather them up together, tug on winter boots, snow pants, coat, scarf, hat and gloves, open the door and walk outside. The thermometer reads a brisk 10 degrees (-12 C).
Because no wind blows through bare branches, it feels almost warm while simultaneously invigorating.
Chickadees sing their winter morning song, “Food for me, me, me?” and I beg them wait for seeds while maneuvering camera and dried cactus petals. Fortunately, the snow does not require snowshoes for navigation.
I face the rising sun with the pink flowers. Here, dear sacred earth and heaven, thank you, take of this small offering today. Even though there are moments during the day when our hearts feel like breaking from the weight of the world’s constrictions and sorrows, still I want to utter words of gratitude–thank you, thank you again–for the multitude of gifts which surround us. Thank you for the snow and Christmas cactus flowers and the sunlight and the way the Universe keeps giving even as it takes away.
It feels good to have taken this conscious moment for gratitude. How easy to vacuum away, to not pause.
Pausing with you readers, thinking of you fondly as this new year unfolds. What rituals calm you, make you feel more connected with the larger world around us?