Lodgepole pines limned in hoarfrost, near Bend, Oregon, U.S.A. 1980.
The sunlight is delivering peace this afternoon, alighting upon the window pane and and sifting through to the walls, where the white glare heats the chill like a silent furnace. Without a cloud in the sky, it seems as if all plants are turning toward the sun’s appropriation, reveling in the radiation, and offering their yearning in return. I can feel their expectation within myself, the rounding of the corner in the year, when the longest nights have slowly grazed past and the season begins to make its way uphill toward the pass, where renewal waits. It is almost expressible, this impatience for sunlight and the cry of mornings with windows thrown wide open.
Upon my window sill sit two sand dollars, three rounded stones picked from river beds, a small carved stone Boddhisatva, and a barrel cactus, tilted in its axis, toward the light. These items have traveled with me through the years and over uncertain distances, two long dead, three polished by time and elements, one brought alive by human intervention, and one still growing as it waits for water. They seem to resist time, but with the daily rolling of the great star across the window pane, they, too, seem to make an incremental passage from day to day. When I look at them I am reminded of the simple acuity of existence, when each is perceived in its whole, distinctly, uniquely itself.
The neighborhood has taken upon itself to hush up today, almost as if it were paying respect to the sun. All things hold still, resisting even breathing. When the wind blows, it restrains itself to quaking among remaining leaves, so gentle that their tenuous holds upon the mostly bare branches might still allow them yet a few more days as leaves, before they drop off and disintegrate into the soil. The sadness of autumn has passed, however, and midwinter stirs the pot. The awakening of blood only needs enough seasoning of sunlight before the sauce begins to bubble. It is only a matter of time before the first thaw.