Snow & Zen Usher in Winter of 2009-2010

A white cap of snow covers the head of the Buddha statue in the side yard of my Conshohocken home. Snow blankets his shoulders, his lap and that part of his robe that crosses his chest from the top left shoulder to the mid section of the belly on the right. His arms, partial chest and knee caps remain bare and uncovered by the snow — as if to dramatically challenge the white fluffy stuff to hide the bold charcoal black statue parts beneath.

I see the face of the statue staring forward and barely make out what I call a “hidden smile,” as well as the long, almost exaggerated elongated ears. Can’t make out the features around the eyes, nose and mouth. Heavy snow is falling, preventing a clear vision outside.

The 18-inch statue rests on a wooden “hutch” where I store black sunflower seeds, as well as wild bird seed in individual plastic containers that once held cat litter. Great containers, but you can’t let them exposed to the elements. Squirrels have chewed through plastic lids of two of them I left outside.

Some 20 birds compete for seeds on the hard grass beneath branches of a “plum” tree in the yard. Another 10 sparrows flutter from tree branches sparring among themselves to get to the four openings in a bird feeder half full with seed.

Look at that bird,” I say to my Self as one flies closer to the house and I see the creature come within feet of where I am standing inside the dining room. The bird lands on the side of a wire cage. Trying to find food, but appearing as if he, the bird, was also trying to say hello to the “outdoor pet” housed in the cage beneath the bay window: the white rabbit.

Yes, we “keep” a rabbit in our yard. I call him “Cwazy,” as in the Elmer Fudd nickname for Bugs Bunny. “You Cwazy Wabbit!” This will be his second winter in our Pennsylvania home some 15 miles outside of Philadelphia.

The rabbit wants out and chews at the metal around him. He “thumps” at a squirrel that scampered beneath the elevated cage searching for food. Is Cwazy trying to “scare” away the squirrel? Or is he simply “scared” of the critter that snuck up to inches of his domain without being seen?

It’s a winter wonderland here on the East Coast of the USA. What a way to welcome the winter solstice. Snow covering everything, thereby altering our entire view of the land outside of our houses, our selves. It makes you stop you’re regular routine; demands that you take notice of nature and life around you.

Makes me drawn to the immediate present with no thoughts of a yesterday or the tomorrow.

Wish I could do that every morning I greet a new day. Be in the present. With the “present” Mother Nature provides me each day if I simply look out my window and watch it manifest.

Happy winter everyone!

8 comments on “Snow & Zen Usher in Winter of 2009-2010

  1. Beautiful, beautiful post Michael J! Thanks for sharing with us.



  2. Michael J – this is how I like to enjoy the snow! I love the visualization, but I will skip the cold! I’ve lived in several colder climates and wish I had moved farther south even still. I reside in Atlanta. Anyway – I enjoyed your snow *wink*


    • contoveros says:

      Atlanta. The underground city. The home of the Braves. Atlanta and New Orleans, my two favorites below the Mason Dixon line.

      Never snowed when I visited. Wish I could visit now, the third day after the snow fall. The nicest thing is the “tunnels” my rabbit and chickens traverse between the mounds of snow. They gotta be having as much fun as little kids! Sentient beings. How I love ’em all.

      michael j


  3. Snædís says:

    You’ve drawn such a beautiful picture of your surroundings Michael J that I feel I’m standing right in front of your Buddha draped in white smiling that hidden smile…

    Snow. I love it too and always have. My name even is of it; snow fairy is the direct translation of Snædís 🙂 Snow somehow neutralizes the energies and when it covers the surface everything seems possible again. It is like water, it IS water. It is neutral and full of potentials I only need tap into in order to activate them. Being in a white surrounding, a snow covered surrounding, is my best place to meditate; I never need struggle to calm my mind when in snow, it immediately falls silent.

    Time for a walk, in the snow…

    Thanks for sharing your love for snow ,-)




    • contoveros says:

      you “ARE” my Buddha draped in white smiling that hidden smile . . .

      Snædís — “Snow fairy.”

      From Iceland.

      Hey, you can’t get anything more beautiful for winter than that.

      Snow. A neutralizer. I like that. Almost like a new beginning. Like being “born again.” Anything is possible.

      michael j


  4. Shadowplay says:

    I was thinking about this the other day… how we in California don’t get the chance to experience true “winter.” I remember one year, our family actually we up to the snow… it made the season dramatically different for me.

    As much as people complain about the snow, I think you are fabulously lucky. Those moments of being still and in the present happen a little more freely when nature is present in all her glory. Thank you for allowing me the chance to join you in some winter quiet.

    (I’ve added you to my Google Reader so that I can keep up with your blog better… Hugs!)


    • contoveros says:

      Many people here would gladly swap homes to travel where you live, on the West Coast. A New Start, a new way of life, a new . . . everything.

      Why can’t we do that right where we are? Right now? In this present moment come rain or come shine?

      Uh, actually, come snow and more snow.

      Hug me a little closer. Tighter. Longer. It’s cold. I’m just 10 miles away from a place called Valley Forge.

      michael j


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