Tuesday, November 02, 2010

First Snow

Ah the first snow of winter.... When we awoke yesterday, there was snow on the ground and among the old trees in the garden.  Spencer and I were delighted; we love the first snows of the season. Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, when the first snow arrives, we run outside to revel in the arrival of sparkling white "stuff" which will be several feet deep here by the middle of winter and too loathsome for words.  Spencer (of course) is still a young lad, but what is the excuse for an old hen like me cavorting in the garden after the first snowfall?

Some of my favorite 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 still long to visit Kyoto, and to visit it in the depths of winter with snow frosting temple rooflines and glittering among the sleeping cherry trees. 

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.

By the end of the afternoon yesterday, the snow had disappeared, but the  enchantment of its appearance lingered.


Tabor said...

Wow. Already? Reminds me of the first snows in Banff that we encountered last month. They were light, airy and wet.

the wild magnolia said...

Each day I an excited to see what fresh beauty of word or thought you gift us.

Let the old hen cavort as she pleases. She being a kind and loving soul of nature.

Oh to visit the cherry trees of Japan! I have some unknown affinity for cherry trees. To see them with snow hugging their branches would be pure delight.

For me, uncovering the Buddhist way, is a day by day journey. Much of findings are online these days. Many of my fine books had to be donated to library as I had no room for them when I moved to Maine. Now, I do not live in the city they were donated.

Snow is a soft reminder of change. While in Maine, I did love the snows.

Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Already? Well cheers to that =)

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful photo and beautiful meditation on snow. My children are looking forward to it; so am I.

Sky said...

beautiful, cate. we are in for a wet season here, according to predicitions. no snow at all last year so we will be celebrating our first snowfall with extraordinary excitement! if they are right about the abundance in store for us, we will be rejoicing by spring that it is all finally over! ;)

Angie said...

I have always LOVED the snow. As a small child, my Mom would get up in the night (probably to go to the bathroom :) ) and if she found it was snowing, she would wake me so I could see it. I'm 54 now and I still get as excited as a child with the first snows. After I left home, and until my Mom moved to a higher plane in December 1996, I would always call her whenever and wherever I was was when the first snow fell. Thank you for reminding me of this priceless treasure of a memory.