Wednesday, November 16, 2005

First Snow

A full moon and the first snowfall of the season - could one ask for more? Yesterday morning it snowed for the first time since last winter, and I was delighted. I love the first snow of the season. Wherever I am and whatever I am doing, when the first snow begins falling, I run outside to revel in the sudden appearance of sparkling white "stuff" which will be several feet deep here by the end of winter and too loathsome for mere words.

Some of my favourite works of art are ukiyoe and shinhanga woodblock prints, and many of those lovely creations are scenes depicting snow and temples in Japan, particularly in the city of Kyoto. I long to visit Kyoto, and to visit it in the depths of winter.

For those of us who are travellers (even wobbly or occasional travellers) on the Buddhist path, falling snow is a metaphor for enlightenment, a wise teacher and a Zen koan to be contemplated and worked out. Snow has its own majestic power, and it possesses incomparable beauty, an eloquence which speaks (or rather sings) volumes by virtue of the simple fact of its existence.
There is a whiteness and cleanliness to new fallen snow which is fleeting and therefore poignant and suggestive, a deep and companionable silence in which everything and everyone is united. Snow does not discriminate in its whirling tumble to earth, it falls on everything it encounters without exception, and for a while we are all made new again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How that first snow always makes me dreamy.Taking me back to a time of freedom in this life or another I am not sure. Its silence and strength often awe me and I always feel the transformation of the landscape deep in my bones. Great respect for those creatures who weather the cold and I am very drawn now to the picture window and the woodstove burning so warm.