Maya and I were in the back office, going through supplier catalogues in preparation for spring and summer orders. Someone in the office next door called to us, there was someone in the store. I went out and beheld a face that is completely familiar to me. My dear friend Stacey had come for a surprise visit!
She ended up staying for a couple of nights which perfectly coincided with my reflection day giving us time to visit, snap pictures of the bobcat during a hike, and teach her a few guitar chords. The most fascinating part of the visit was watching myself as the person I am here and now react to someone I’ve been so close to for over ten years. There were instances of concrete proof that I’ve grown and developed in exactly the ways I’ve been intending.
I love how I can rattle off my thoughts and feelings about subjects in an honest and authentic manner that in the past I would have completely shied away from, yet in the next days sit with my journal overlooking the lake during lunch reflecting on my propensity to remain inwards. How grateful I am to have such a lovely surprise visitor and to see for myself just how much I have changed through the passing of constant time; time and the determination to live my ideals of authenticity.
Snow fell heavily this past week. More and more of it came and kept coming. The view across the lake was washed over with clouds and falling flakes. Like a pane of shower-stall glass I couldn’t see through. What is it about watching snow fall that has me so utterly transfixed? I began to wonder if all snow falls at the same rate. Due to the laws of gravity it must yet there are allowances for friction caused by size of flake etc. What about wind? A strong draft in any direction could change the rate of the free-falling water, frozen into intricate patterns. These are the things my mind rests on as I sit at my desk, holding the wondrous gratitude that suffuses out of me that I get to live in a spot of such beauty, solitude, and peace.
Having been here for over a year I can’t help but go back to the previous winter and even the summer before that. There’s a particular statue of Buddha just outside the front entrance that is particularly entrancing(ha!). I’ve watched it sit in magnanimous quiet, watching all that pass whether they are a random day-visitor, a guest here on course, or Swami Radhananda going for her daily walk. I’ve seen him covered, neck-deep in snow that smothers the flower beds giving a completely different definition of what natural beauty is than the colourful batches of green and petal that will grace the space in other seasons. This week, I simply haven’t seen him at all. He’s hidden under the exceedingly soft and welcoming snow.
I’ve been here long enough to know that I can choose to look at anything symbolically and it will be a guide from my higher self, pointing me in a helpful direction. With that in mind, what does the Buddha mean to me, hidden deftly in the snow? He rests there throughout the cycle of the seasons which, as more go by, don’t seem to surprise me as much as they used to. When I look out to the flower bed seeing white mounds with the occasional branch poking out, I now also see tiny leaf buds, eager to unfold into lush greenery. I see the flowers that they will nourish as they take energy from the sun and transform it into usable carbohydrates. I see the colourful flowers in full bloom and then begin to fade as the firey leaves take over. I see the rose hips being swiftly gathered by squirrels who then bury them in moss near their home, keeping food for winter. I see the deer eating the ones they’d left behind.
Through it all the Buddha sits. The inevitability of one season leading to another is nothing new. I’ve been here over a year, the longest I’ve lived in one dwelling since I moved out of my parent’s house at 18. Through the complete cycling of the cosmic rhythm I see how change is superseded only by that which is permanent. The two intertwine and coexist, dancing with each other in complete unison yet as if the other isn’t even there. The Buddha doesn’t mind the snow, nor is he so swayed by the fragrance of the flowers. The two manage to co-exist. All the places I’ve lived and been had one thing in common: I was there when I was there. My inner Buddha nature remains the same no matter what is going on around me. The snow will melt, the rains will come, and I will see that statue again, looking on in stillness at all who pass.