When the serious snow began, about two weeks before Christmas, my heart sank. OK, I said...I can do this necessary shoveling...two hours a day, at least. Then the snow continued, day after day after day, and I continued also, increasingly resistant
and resentful. I had better things to do! Then, the day before Christmas Eve, it was necessary to shovel for four hours - both Joan and I doing different parts of the property. Visitors said "why do you need to keep the courtyard open and have all
these paths?" And we say again, as we have many times, "it's for the spring melt. If those channels aren't clear, water will come through the back door!" As we found out in the first two springs we were here. Arnica and deep rest revived the muscle aching every
day. Thank God, really, it was Christmas, when work demands were in hiatus.
Then, about a week ago, I suddenly realized that I felt stronger, physically stronger. Not only that, I began to notice the beauty, the astoundingly clear beauty, of the
snow, and I began to enjoy the shoveling, actually look forward to it each day. It became satisfying. Even my healing wrist and hand, enclosed in a splint for the shoveling, began to feel better, and I didn't spend every evening with it wrapped in an ice pack.
What was the change? Of course I had to ask. The change was, I believe, in me. Certainly it wasn't in the necessity of shoveling snow, which was continuous and relentless. But in my early morning reading I came upon this only yesterday, and it expresses
for me the shift I believe I fell into, without intending to:
The courage to hear and to embody opens us to a startling secret, that the best chance to be whole is to love whatever gets in the way, until it
ceases to be an obstacle." (Mark Nepo The Book of Awakening p.13)
Without deliberately doing so, and I believe by continuing to do what originally seemed an obstacle to my time, some deep
shift happened: I began to love what was for days and days an obstacle. And was rewarded by a soaring recognition of beauty, and even of my own strength. At 66, this is a transforming moment indeed.
The photo is Joan shoveling our garage roof. More
snow photos included in Contemplative Images.