Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Santosha In A Bit of Rolling Snow

Standing in my snowshoes, I watched transfixed as a small bit of snow detached from my pole and began rolling down the surface of the hill. The dancing bounce and roll of this little clump was both delicate and driven by enormous forces. Skipping down the surface, it left a beautiful chain of marks like a necklace impressed in the light snow topping. Honestly I do not know if I was breathing or holding my breath for the length of time it took for this little nodule of snow to come to a halt, but the moment it stopped, I looked all around for some way to exclaim the marvel of it.

All around me was the steady light of day upon snow and surfaces. Though I heard the chatter of nearby chickadees, silence enfolded me and my exuberance. In that moment I earnestly wished someone was right there to see and share this remarkable beauty, yet I also immediately felt connected to all beings who had ever stood transfixed by a natural occurrence. It was as though a vast space opened around me and inside me simultaneously. Alone and yet totally one without any regard for individuality, time or space. There was simply the air, my cold feet in snowshoes resting atop the temporary surface of the earth, chickadees and my own beating heart keeping me company.

I watched as my mind began to observe the impulse to imbue the moment with meaning, in a way reaching for ownership of the event, making inner arrangements to document and file the experience. It felt as though I was turning on an internal light and illuminating the inside of my own structure. I could feel this rolling snow as an indicator of danger - to a deer or rabbit, where another could stand in awe as I had done. How many of these small motions had taken off down the hill before I stopped to notice? The same miracle happening again and again without my observing eye.

It is exactly thus that I live in the world: entirely unexceptional and entirely unique, fully conscious and a somnambulator. I can appreciate the human desire to open my heart, to experience the world in tandem with another, and yet know that even my most solitary experiences are deeply universal beyond even my own species. Feeling this, experiencing this without grasping at it, allowing it to just come and go like the breath itself, fills me with gratitude. Santosha, contentment, opens my path.

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