There must be a sutra that fits this mess: lumps of melting snow —markers of impermanence. Once the unspoiled beauty of fields of cotton, ski slope, starlit sky—now shoveled and ploughed, siphoned inward by sun and gravity. Old snow with all the elegance of gun-metal helicopter blades churning overhead. Soot-smudge tattoos on berms of it, foot-stomped reminders of imperfection, dirty laundry.
Only listen for hymn-licks in the slap of slush from tires, birdsong layered in like a gospel round. Then join in, scanning twigs of gray-barked trees for bud sprits— that first portent of spring.
For once, silence— genuine calm. Forty minutes on a tidal bight with a great blue heron in the binoculars’ sight. Not frozen but still. In a half hour, she barely turns a full 360 degrees. Time to notice the dark wingtip markings, light not-blue-but-gray breast feathers, the cobalt dash between the long beak and dark-eyed crown. Expectation gives way to awe, as each degree thins her to a reed among reeds.
By sunset, barely an apostrophe against the green marsh what’s left of color bleeding into water, this resolve: to pause to practice, to attend.
Statio. One of the elements of Benedictine spiritual discipline, the practice of pausing between activities to become conscious of the moment, of the presence of God.
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