Thursday, February 10, 2011

window of wonder

“A blessing is a red light that stops you, says ‘No, don’t do it yet, take time, have another look.’ It allows presence to become clear. For our rhythm to be restored, we need some kind of stillness, and a blessing offers this chance, a window of wonder on to what is happening.” John O'Donohue.
 There is nothing more guilt producing than the pleading eyes of my dog Lily when she needs to go outside for her last walk of the night.  Well, she's pretty pathetic during thunderstorms, when fireworks are exploding or some errant  hunter starts blasting his trusty gun at dawn down along the river during duck hunting season.  But, that's fear.  Her stance and glance come from a different place.   She wants protection.   A "take me for a walk" on the other hand, has the energy of a jumpy runner at the starting gate.   Except there are four legs doing the happy dance, and a long wet nose to nudge you towards the front door.
At this time of year, when the bitter winds feel like it's shredding your parka into bits of fluff, Lily's desire to romp outdoors after dark sends rippling shivers from my head to my toes.  It takes all of my reserves to force myself to bundle up and take her out there.    It's WAY worse when I have forgotten to complete this last routine of the day and have already had a long hot bubble bath, put my flannel jammies on and slipped into bed in search of stillness and sleep.
Ah, but the look....... the Labrador lingering look never fades.  It begins to pore into your comfy cozy conscience until the guilt shoves you out from under the puffy duvet, down the hall and into various layers of outdoor gear.  All the while, my lovable dog, who spends her day lazing about snoozing on various pieces of furniture and beds when no one is around to tsk, tsk her, turns into a snow puppy prancing while wagging her long happy tail.  Happy dance!  Happy prance!  
This was the scene the other night as I dutifully pulled my fleecy hat down to my eyes, my shawl under my long wool coat up to over my chin..... cheeks and eyes were all that were visible by the time I opened the front door and stepped into a chill so desperate it originally took my breath away.  It literally freezes the snot in your nose!  Instantly! 

Out we trudging in my fashionable mukluks, wrapped like a colourful mummy ...... she galloping over snowdrifts like they were wild growing hedges blooming in the summer!

As Lily bounded towards the end of the driveway, I slowly followed along.  It wasn't until I reached the road that I realized a few new centimetres of light fluffy snow had fallen earlier in the evening when it was a little warmer than it was now.  Did you know that sometimes it gets too cold to snow?  The temperature had dropped drastically during the time between snowfall and dog walk.  

Pristine.  Purely untouched powder lay on the street.  Not one foot print nor a tire tread had disturbed it.  We were the first crazy explorers to traipse through the powder.  As Lily ran ahead to attempt her trademark snow angel body rub, I stopped to look at the beautiful scene, and to listen to the muffled silence that only winter offers.  It was a quiet as an ancient prayer spoken inside the heart.  Peaceful as the sound before the first note in a song. 

I stood under the streetlight in front of my home and felt the stillness I had tried to capture inside when I was tucked in bed.  And, as soon as I felt this wave wander comfortably through me, I saw the artistry all around me, realizing right away that I had been given the gift of a blessing.  For on the new fallen white velvet were millions of winter diamonds shimmering a greeting.  Because the temperatures had dropped so drastically, the top layer of the snow had formed into glistening crystals that captured the light and reflected it up to my eyes.  

Irridescent glitter acting as minute mirrors startled into a rhythmic dance by the bitter cold air swirling above captivated my newfound gaze.  When I took a step, these clear gems delightfully jiggled all around me.  When we walked beyond the streetlight, they still sparkled as brilliantly as the stars above.  Perhaps they were pieces of fallen stars.....?  These beautiful sequins on white velvet opened the window of wonder just for me.  And I almost missed the red light.  I almost missed the blessing displayed outside on a cold January night.  Luckily I have a dog with pleading eyes...... She is a blessing too.


The House on Big Island said...

And oh, what a blessing they are!

...And on the sixth day, when God said let their be unconditional love - he had the image of a Labrador Retriever in his mind (the only think he couldn't decide was what colour to make it - so we got all three!).


awareness said...

Daisy! I love your comment. thanks! It's so true. Thank God for the Labrador Retriever.... all dogs really.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful dog she is. She would have me wrapped around her paws in under a minute.

I love how you describe the stillness of the winter night and the unblemished snow. It sounds magical to me suffering away in the sweltering heat.

Lily is a blessing. So are you.

Mavis said...

Glad to see you back, missing you

Marja said...

Irridescent glitter acting as minute mirrors startled into a rhythmic dance Beautiful Dana
as is your dog. I had to look up the nice word irridescent
I am taken aback by the amount of snow. Here we have a very warm nearly hot summer, but soon we will swap.