Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Beautiful Bones

In winter, the bones of things are exposed.  Trees without leaves, fields without crops, stark and foreboding.  It looks drab and dreary and uninviting.  I love walking out into it.  I love wrapping up warm and stepping into what seems inhospitable - dull at best; demanding and scary cold at worst.  I love the crunch of the frozen ground under my feet.  I love the texture of the different fallen things lying askew on the path.  I love the monochrome shades that come alive only if you are out there in it. Through a window, from a car, it can demoralize.  Crunching along, wrapped in the crisp air, seeing the occasional flash of bright blue jay or red cardinal with the crazy shapes and shades, it invigorates.  I love to find beauty outside this time of year.  It's far less abundant than in the extravagant times, but it is good.  So good.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The art of seeing what is in front of us

We usually need novelty to really appreciate something we see.  Usually we are out of our routine, on vacation in a beautiful place when we open ourselves to new experience.  We expect new then.  And seeing the many exotic, interesting things other places and people offer is a great plan.  It helps us grow.
But it is not necessary to go someplace else to find new and beautiful.  You see what you believe.

Our brains habituate to usual.  The people, things, landscapes of our every day lives become habit, background.  Invisible.  We mechanically follow our routine, tend to our responsibilities, work towards a future that isn't this, and then wonder why things are tedious and boring.  We feel like we will blow a gasket if something doesn't change soon.  We plan for a vacation or scheme ways to meet a new milestone.  If only I could get this new job, make that amount of money, move to this new place, have that great car.  So we press on towards that goal,  spending all our now on hopes for what is to come.

Believing that now is all we've got for sure, taking time to breathe it in, coming to our senses - all of them - now - is how we see and choose to appreciate what is in front of us.  It's possible to take a shower in the same amount of time you use daily with a focus on the full experience of it.  It's the same shower, in the same house just like it was yesterday and will be tomorrow.  Why not savor it?  Experience each aspect with relish?  If we are right here, now, doing exactly what we are doing with all our selves fully engaged, grateful and open, instead of borrowing trouble with worry or negating now with anticipation, we feel so much more alive.  We're free to see the beauty and newness that is in front of our noses but invisible.  It buys us time.  It gives us the only thing we can really count on for sure.  Now.  Experienced like we're on vacation.  Wide open and wondering.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

I love the way words sound when I come in from exercise in the cold. And my mouth doesn't quite work because the muscles have stiffened with chill.  I love to feel warm and toasty, energized at my core, muscles loose, strong and efficient, but my lower lip won't move quite right to shape the words. It's helps the experience linger when you step back into a warm shelter, drink some hot tea and feel the tips of your fingers and your chin and lips and ears go back to normal.  I feel vigorous and virtuous and lucky that I could do it again today. The exact same way skiers feel when they stop on the mountainside for a break and crowd around for the bathroom, shedding layers of equipment, ordering refreshment, laughing about the look on someone's face when she hit a surprise bump.  No kidding. Out here on a little farm in the prairie, all by my lonesome.  Just me and the dog on a dreary winter day.

 If anybody had told my eighteen year old self that one of my favorite things to do as a mom and grandmother would be outdoor exercise around the perimeter of my own little ten acres - especially during winter -  I'd have laughed them out of town.  I hated being cold.  My eighteen year old self was so keen to get out of the boring small town and landscape of the midwest to see more world. Any other part of the world.  I'd seen all the midwest and winters I wanted by eighteen.  I knew I'd never appreciate anything about the midwest ever again.  And here I am, traveling this same path day after day - not along a mountainside but around a plowed, frozen empty field passing a rag tag pond and ditches, silly with glee to have the time and health and privilege to do it.

It took a while and a lot of travel for my young self to learn that inhabiting any body on this living blue planet in this moment in time is quite the privilege. Because of these filters and experiences, limits and gifts this body gives us, we live for a bit exactly our way. And it's new every day, always full of surprises if we keep our attitude open to now.  My bright, ambitious eighteen year old self wouldn't have believed I would be back on the prairie and loving it after living in other countries, getting decades worth of advanced education at impressive schools in big cities and working at important jobs. I doubt I could have explained it to her. Still, I know she'd be glad to hear it was all good.

The older I get, the less I worry about the accomplishments, the way I look, the places I haven't yet seen. While I'm still able, I'm still eager to go see a new, beautiful place. Just, I also do see the beauty that's right in front of my face right now, every day. So I will try to stay as fit and strong as I can inside this frail, temporary frame. Something new is bound to go wrong sometime with this equipment. Happens to all of us.  So I intend to appreciate what is right up to that moment.  You'll rust out before you wear out.  Not much rust here.  But rust can make things beautiful too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A day of wind and moon

I've mentioned before that I'm pretty bad at doing nothing.  I try, just like I try to keep my spirit child- like.  But trying and striving are kind of the opposite of that state of being that is described by some as "flow". We've all seen and admired it in a gorgeous dance production or an incredible athletic performance. Paradoxically, most humans get to that place of flow by methodical practice, striving, effort.  They become so accomplished that they make it look easy - because it finally comes together in this magical, unselfconscious 'being in this moment doing exactly what flows'.  Others, like the very young and the very old and wise, just live in that state of wonder.  I get glimpses of it.  Once in a while. For a few moments.  Wouldn't it be swell to just BE it?  Just fully experience a whole entire day of wind and moon?

The holidays are such a busy time.  Throwing parties, wrapping presents, being jolly while still managing to keep up with all the daily demands like cleaning toilets, shopping, cooking, working. Sometimes, to add insult to injury, the weather dumps on us or someone gets really sick and there's that extra to slog through. Usually in response to a crowded schedule, I speed up, add more to my own plate and just rush around like a complete ninny.  It makes the time zip by, I get a lot done, and wonder where it all went. Remember being a kid and waiting and waiting and waiting for Christmas to get here?  Yeah.  As a grown up, it often feels like just the opposite.  How can it be December 15th already?  Wasn't it just July a minute ago?  So, mostly I'm a human doing instead of a human being. Oh well.

Exercise is the trick for me.  Moving hard enough to get tired, then doing something like Yoga to be still.  If I do that right, I drop my expectations and schedules and judgements and striving and be for a bit.  Being is trickier than it sounds.  For this holiday preparation time, I wish for myself and you a path to drop all that, do exactly what you are doing this minute, fully engaged in the moment. And I wish for you to keep that for a whole day.  A whole day of wind and moon.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

I wonder about nothing all the time.  Mindful practices are about coming to your senses - being here. Now.  Feeling what you feel.  Seeing what you see for a few heart beats and breaths before you insert judgement.  It's something I've worked at since I was in a meditation study that measured alpha waves back in college in the 70's.  According to the data, my efforts at listening to my own breath did cause my brain to make alpha waves, which are associated with enlightenment and calm.  I felt calm.  But I did not think nothing, which was what I thought I was supposed to accomplish to create that state.  My brain never shut up.

I still can't think nothing.  I have a serious case of monkey mind; thoughts jumping all over the place.  I keep steering my thoughts back to the present, then I get squirrely and think about goofy stuff, then steer back. And repeat. My practice is pretty fractured, especially when I sit.  I do better with walking meditation, yoga, and sincere noticing.   But it all makes me wonder about nothing.  That's why I love it.  Wonder.  About nothing/everything, all alive and shining out here in the universe.  About as important as a gnat, which is pretty important, I guess, in the big scheme.

I did stop wondering if I'll ever feel enlightened.  I don't know what that is - though I think it might be a little more than thinking nothing - and I don't care.  I eat when I'm hungry, exercise often, sleep when I'm tired, create when I can, do what needs to be done.  All with as much presence, loving kindness and gratitude as possible.  So, even though I'm a little old lady out in the prairie on a winter night, nothing much going on, here in fly over land, it ain't nothing.  It's a beautiful thing.  Being here.  Being human. Being alive in a vast, living blue world inside a giant universe.  Doing nothing.  What a wonder.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Misery is optional

Misery in the face of suffering is always an option, but not necessary.  When we recognize it, we must step back, seductive as it can be to wallow in the importance of such a massive experience.  We can feed it by believing in our right not to suffer, in the indignity of it, the unfairness.  And that will not right things or make them less miserable, but more.  Misery prolongs the suffering and magnifies the problems by capturing our energy and focus.

We must open fully to suffering if we are to fully experience our lives.  It's part of the human condition. It is temporary, like all the rest of being human.  But it's also a necessary, unavoidable ingredient of living on this amazing blue planet.  We need to meet it with acceptance, compassion and loving kindness.  We must be present enough to see and experience it, but human and humble enough to never pretend to be it's master.

Doing right by ourselves and others in the face of it is the honorable intention that feeds right action. That can get messy, but fortunately, being human, we will get plenty of practice. It's the best any of us can do to formulate the intention of responding to deep suffering with loving kindness, compassion and acceptance, then to do the next right thing, and the next.  The suffering shall pass, and then always, the breathtaking pulse of joy is revealed by the very existence of suffering.

Acceptance of the inevitability of suffering is not passive.  It's only possible when we are strong and vital.  Like in the action movies, when our heroine is injured and time slows, then she accurately assesses her situation, and battles evil with precision and supernatural abilities.  Mere mortals living on prairies in the dreary wintertime can meet suffering like that too.  Maybe it's not as action packed as the movies, but it can be truly remarkable. The ingredients are presence, acceptance, intention and effort to make the next right choice.  We either get good at that or we get good at misery and self pity.   Personally, I'm practicing the ninja option.


THREE RAVENS GRAPHICS image, illustrating the beauty of change, rusting out, growing old.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Zen and the Art of Cross Country Skiing

I got to cross country ski in November.  Two days in a row now.  It's my favorite exercise.  Ever.  I love sitting on my steps, putting on my boots and gators, walking out the door, clicking on the skis and just going.  Around and around and around.  Ten acres, three laps - the same scenery, sounds and smells - day after day. Sort of. The track is the width of our John Deere mower deck and it has unremarkable hills, trees, a pond, critter tracks, critters, a field, edges; they don't change all that much. I could certainly say I've been there, done that, many times, in every season.  If I can't ski it, I walk it. But I've had strings of ski weeks that go all the way to spring.  I get all the goodie out of every bit of snow, and luckily, we get a fair amount around here.  And every single lap is a new discovery if you do it in the right frame of mind.

I don't find it beautiful compared to some of the stunning things I've seen traveling the US and other parts of the world.  But I am regularly blown away by it.   I do that 30 acre track very mindfully.  I feel my feet in my boots, my boots on my skis, my skis on the snow, my muscles contracting, the breeze and sun on my face, the sweat dripping down the small of my back, see the dazzling sparkle of snow, the play of shadows, hear the sound of my breathing, smell the snow in the air.  It's different every time. I like skiing best because I do have to work a little harder not to fall on my bum, so my purposeful, linear thinking is much more easily suspended.

That's when I come closest to feeling the world the way that bluejay does when it flaps out in front of me and suspends for a second before it zips away.  I'm just there, with the deer that I scare into the field across the pond or the wood ducks or that crawdad that stands on it's tail in the spring snapping its teeny claws at me like it's gonna scare me off.  I've met generations of brave little crawdads in approximately the same low spot at the bottom of the hill, past the pond.  And once, a little fawn that couldn't have been more than a few hours old.  But it's not the dew glittered spider webs or the array of changing blooms; it's not the textures or the tracks or the critter scat or sightings.  It's the being and belonging as I slide over the different kinds of snow, sticking or zipping along.  I'm not much for sitting meditation, though I'll try.  I'm more a zen and the art of cross country skiing kind of girl.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Rising man

There's a rising man forever frozen in the naked branches of the giant oak tree outside my bedroom window.  The oak grows up way past the third floor windows and towers over the roof, but the rising man is whole there, outside my room.  His modesty is preserved by the main trunk where he originates. Clear as day, each fall after the leaves drop, you see the back of his leg, bent at the knee, his midrift and shoulders lifting up, one arm out as if to catch himself and one arm reaching up.  The pose radiates strength, growth, unfolding.

He has no choice about being humble and patient, being made of oak and bark and all.  Squirrels race up and down his back and neck, chasing, jumping and tumbling over one another. He has made peace with the gray ones, the little red guys and the black ones.  He's pestered by some lovely woodpeckers - three toed, ladder-backed, red bellied, red headed, downy. He never flinches. And nuthatches, titmice, sparrows, bluebirds, jays and cardinals shelter and hop around, sharpening beaks, waiting their turns at the feeders.

I am always so glad to see him each year.  He helps me not to mourn the green and golden.  To love the still, textured potential of this dormant phase.  It's magnificent.  We should pause, rest, shelter and romp during this time.  It's the before and the after and right now.  You can see nothing more in him than what was lost, what is long in coming, what he cannot do.  Or  you can see his unmoving latency, stillness as beautiful and alive, full of magic and potential.

Monday, November 9, 2015


I love edges.  This time of dropped leaves and lingering green grass with the occasional blast of red or orange still vibrating.  My path to now is my daily walk around the mowed edge of our ten acres. Three laps.  Thoughts race but they come back to the apple I pluck from the last few still good ones on the last fruit bearing apple tree. Thoughts race but they come back to the large deep deer hoof prints in the mud in front of me.  My thoughts race but they come back for summer's last gift of the final six slightly frozen yellow pearl tomatoes that I eat with relish, and the eight Indiana figs that are almost ripe.  I don't eat all of those.

My thoughts drift as I end with my few standing yoga poses.  Then I salute the sun, close my eyes and see the lingering white shadow drift behind my lids.  I open them in the next pose and see the red heads of the lingering pineapple sage.  My thoughts drift then I count my breaths in the next pose and watch the clouds float, a hawk perched high in the tree.  My thoughts drift then the beautiful bones of one of the fully exposed giant oaks shimmers with frost.  My thoughts drift then I see my upside down dog shadow between my legs and smile.

Endings and beginnings are what edges are all about.  I love them.  They remind me that everything is temporary except that it all changes.  And that is magnificent.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Why can't we see ordinary?

This is such a rich, lush time of year it almost feels excessive.  Everything we welcomed in Spring so eagerly is here in such abundance we almost stop seeing it.  Why do we do that?  Drive right past something stunning because we're preoccupied or bored or moody, so our attitude makes it invisible?  Or even annoying? We miss so many opportunities to restore by not looking at anything but our screens - or just simply rushing through our lives.  But even from the window of our cars, on the way to the something really pressing and important, we can notice the color of the light this morning.  Like everything else, it's tending toward the golden now.  Instead of complaining it's too hot or it's raining, what about those thousand shades of green that are starting to randomly take on bits of gold? The birds and the insect whirs and chirps are so loud.  How do we tune that out?

The soy bean field I drove past this morning was all rich, dark green, and this afternoon it's one third gold. Tomorrow it will be all golden while the next field will be untouched.  Some of the corn fields are crisping and drying to tan/gold now; some are still waves of green bending in whooshes as my car sweeps past.  I love to look in the rear view mirror to watch the tops undulate like ripples on a lake.  Even if we don't look, that's all happening.  Sheesh, there's so much action just driving past those stubborn, chopped down ditches between the road and the fields.  They can't help but produce too. As the car approaches, blue and yellow butterflies whirl up out of the blue chicory and the butter colored daisies and dancing green grasses with long tips of golden seed.  When it rains, the colors shine and the dimmer light makes them deeper.  And then we get the cloud action at sunset with the golden light making them luminescent in spots before they start to shade to orange and pink and blue. We have such stunning clouds on the prairie.  Always changing shape and color, taking up half the view.  We don't need mountain ranges, not that mountains aren't beautiful too.

We don't need to wish ourselves to some exotic spot out away from the boring fly over states either.  Nor do we have to strain to appreciate the excess.  We just have to decide to savor the ordinary extravagance of the zillions of birds and bugs and vegetation, the endless parade of abundance and color on the ground and in the air.  I love edges, and this is the edge right now that shifts us from summer to fall.  It will pass whether we see it happen or not. Why don't we see it while we're perched here on this edge?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

So, I think you have to have a world view that is simple but true in order to navigate being.  I have no idea how I'd describe mine, but it feels necessary that I keep trying.  Many, maybe most, say their religion belongs in that spot.  I've studied so many, looking for the most right one for me.  Instead, I've made peace with the fact that none so far, for me, have adequately illuminated and celebrated the mystery, or even come close.  Neither has science alone, as magnificent and mysterious as it is.

I would never choose to reinvent the wheel.  It takes so much unnecessary time more happily spent using that wheel.  But mostly so far, I guess, my world view is that I can't fully believe tidy world views. Yet I also refuse to have a world view of refusal alone.  Refusing to believe this, denying that, denigrating the other versions.  Being more right and righteous than my poor, deluded, sinful, ugly neighbor is not the way I want to be.  Time will run out and I would have to look back someday and say in horror, 'That is how I used my precious time?'  Nope. Instead, I'm letting the mystery be.  I'm OK that all of us grasp a bit of it, and I'm loving the mystery, trusting that any and all attempts so far to describe it are woefully, humanly inadequate, but that still there is an organizing intelligence to admire and episodically glimpse.  An organizing intelligence that includes suffering and joy, light and dark, still and frantic, terrifying and peaceful.

And creating.  Your self and your way of being is creating something.  While you are being human, knowingly or not, you get to do that.  It's amazing.  My overall intention is to create a life that is loving and joyful, accepting and peaceful in the midst of pain and horror and busy and beauty and indifference.  I hold that in place and then ride through the day, immersed in whatever is that I perceive through the flawed lense that I own now and that will change as I pass through.  Boredom, sadness, beauty, storm.  Suffering.  Joy.  I know whatever it is will be temporary.  Like me.  And everything and everybody.  I'm OK with that.  In fact, I love that.  So much.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Way to be

 I am intensely interested in how we manage to be while we are so temporarily human, where suffering lives right beside joy.  So many people focus on either one or the other.  I suffer, therefore I am who I am.  Or I am happy, therefore I am who I am. That's pretty normal, because intense experiences grab our attention for lots of good reasons.  But the intense periods always pass.  And anyway, the thing about being human (or any other being with consciousness - I wonder a lot about all intelligent beings like elephants and dolphins and dogs) is that we can expand our awareness beyond the single experiences of intense suffering or joy while we are enveloped in them.  And when we're not immersed in the intense experience, we ponder why the world is like it is - full of such breathtaking beauty right alongside random, stunning cruelty and undeserved pain.  The facts are the facts, and we can shift focus, deny, distract, rationalize in order to live with them.  But it is a thing to wrap your head around the why of this set up.

Far greater minds who have poetically performed the magic of sharing a gorgeous, complex, working world view. And yet, we still each have to figure out for ourselves how we will be in this moment.  I have the mechanics of it, I think.  I do choose joy whenever and however I can, right along with all of the ugly stuff.  Not to demean or disrespect pain, not to pretend it isn't there.  When pain is present, I try to open fully to it rather than escape it, because one thing about this deal is every bit of it is temporary. But so far, I've managed to acknowledge suffering fully and choose joy still.  Also.  So, that's what I'm doing and lots of others do too.  But really, how?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I’m a bleeding heart, live and let live sort. A little old grandmother for cripe’s sake. But the worst any of us human critters has done, it’s in us all. Hatred resides in the darkest part of my soul for those imitation lady bugs. I hate potato bugs. Experiments in natural pest control. Not my experiments, mind you. But somebody brought them out here. They eat aphids. So what? Aphids or potato bugs? No contest. Typical human arrogance, thinking we can outsmart mother nature. They are attracted to white - like the white cliffs of their native lands. When it gets cold, they inch inside the crags and cracks to ride out the winter. My house is tall. And white. The siding is where they go in the fall when they get cold usually after a frost or two. Just when you start to think it won’t happen. Every year. Every damned year. The little suckers bite and if you swat them for it, they stink you. Very UN-ladybug like. I think every year that they aren’t coming. This time, I won. They are finally done. But nope. They come. Just one day, they’re everywhere - creeping in every crack, riding in the door on your shirt, crawling all over the ceiling in the kitchen. If you toss them out, they just march relentlessly back in. They make me furious. I can’t bring myself to poison them because we have a well and frogs in our pond. As a citizen of this planet, I won’t spray weeds or bugs. I learned the hard way you can toss them on the floor and stomp them and they still come up crawling again. It hardly slows them down. You have no idea how long it took me to find out they’re pretty much unstompable. I call out the beastly, merciless side of my spirit after years of tolerance, catch and release, and it’s all for naught. So now I trap them in a jar. They’re easy to catch. If they’re crawling across the kitchen ceiling, they’ll eventually fall down. They drop - onto the table, the counters, your neck. So, when they get within reach, I scoop them into my bug jar and slam the lid. They can live in there for days - only getting air when I open up for the next guy. But I do not care. Let them suffer. I even find their captive stink gratifying when I open the lid to get another. “Your stink defends against nothing! “ I think, and slam the lid shut. I’m so ashamed. It amazes my bleeding heart every year. They come yet again and my ardent, stunningly gratifying round up into the bug torture jar ensues. The invasion eventually stops. Kind of the way they start. Just done. I might see a stray or two as the winter goes - maybe one a month and even though the jar is put away, I still have no mercy. I snatch them and toss them in the toilet. Flush. Even the winter ones don’t get thrown outside on the off chance that they find a way to survive. But by February or March, all trace of them is gone. Guess that’s why I think I won this time. So, if you ever think you’re above the base cruelty of your fellow humans, think again. It’s in there. Someday you too will meet your potato bug.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Wise and Brave

Our four year old grandson began humming this morning while he was getting dressed. I asked him why he was humming. He's in day two of the flu and had already told me that he wondered if you could be dizzy even if you aren't walking in circles. I asked him if he was and he said yes, so I told him yes, you can feel like that when you have the flu. Then I felt his forehead and happily told him he didn't have a fever this morning. He smiled and said, yes but he has a fever in his ear. We have to tell his mom about that. About the humming, he said he wasn't humming - it 'just came on naturally'. Oh. They are mighty little warriors. Even when they feel puny and dizzy and have fevers in their ears, the humming just comes on naturally. There is so much sweetness in the world of a four year old. Of course I want to be like that.

Friday, February 6, 2015


It works for me. It is so much nicer to be wondering than to be bored. Way more fun to have childlike glee over the thousand types of snow than to sit indoors shivering and complaining. I like the squeak of snow under my boots when it's really cold. And the color of the horizon at night in the deep, deep cold is astonishing. Extreme anything can be dangerous and difficult but it's quite a spectacle if you experience it carefully, from a safe distance, with a sense of wonder. 'I wonder how I'm going to solve this problem?' makes me feel much more powerful than hand wringing and worry. When they were teens and young adults, my children were greened by my exploding sense of wonder. It made little sense to them that while they were demonstrating their competence, I was practicing the world view of a three year old. I have been practicing for decades. I'm getting pretty good at it. You should give it a try.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

LETTING GO You cannot release what you don't own. I own it that people can do crappy, violent things. Misogyny. I own that too. For the longest time I said NO! That is just not right! And stomped my foot. Whoever is in charge - what an idiot. To make tragedy, flies, mosquitoes, misogyny. Boy was that exhausting. Then I rediscovered not being attached. It just is. So, the sorrow and rage and beauty and peace. The preposterousness... They flow past. That's how it changes. Inside you then outside t

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Published this month in Indiana Voice Journal End of Autumn by Belinda Hubert Winter came on hard and fast this year. Whoosh. It’s easy to despair about short, short days and the sudden absence of color after a big wind and freeze. The onset. Our beautiful Autumn is swept away and we huddle inside. We wait for perfect, knowing that’s a looooonng way off. It seems like all the color on the birds who stay is faded. The really bright ones are gone. It’s only sparrows and crows perched among the few dead leaves straggling on the naked branches. But while we dread ice and misery, hunch against dreary gray clouds, the good is still right out there. There are still plenty of bright cardinals and blue jays, woodpeckers and nut hatches, cute little black and white chickadees. You just have to wrap up and walk out to see and feel this new reality. We see what we look for. Hardship creates it’s own stark beauty. The holly berries are red as fire. The beauty berries are the silliest shade of purple, showing off absurdly against leafless branches. Tall dry grasses with golden tops still blow in the wind. There are animal tracks everywhere next to the freshly harvested fields, amid the litter of husks and sharp crispy corn leaf blades . The blown down yellow willow branches make such a pattern curling against the dark crunchy earth. In the early morning light, the frost sparkles up all those textures. Then we get the million kinds of snow. It changes by the hour. It’s our judgement that makes all that bad. We think we can only be happy when the planets align and the bluebird perches on our shoulder. Pshaw. It’s savory. I love to cozy up to the dark. If we obey the urge to look away from the old, the dark, the dried and blown, our attention is all about what’s not any more. We mourn what was, and we miss what is. Winter is not flamboyant or easy on us. But if we open up, drop the dread, look straight at it, walk out into it, we can see the beautiful bones, the underlying traces, tune into the shapes and shadows. This part of the year, we have to take the remnants, the roots, toss on a few spices, light up a fire and make soup.