Shoveling Snow With Buddha
Well here we are again in Denver with the Double Wammy. Second week in a row we've been snowed in. This time though they have the chain law in effect in Metro Denver - unheard of!!! Chains are usually only for the mountains. So I am going through old magazines cutting out stuff for a New Year's vision board. I found the following poem and thought it appropriate - so here it is - WISHING YOU ALL A WONDERFILLED 2007!
Shoveling Snow with Buddha
by Billy Collins
In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok
you would never see him doing such a thing,
tossing the dry snow over the mountain
of his bare, round shoulder,
his hair tied in a knot, a model of concentration.
Sitting is more his speed, if that is the word for what he does, or does not do.
Even the season is wrong for him.
In all his manifestations, is it not warm and slightly humid?
Is this not implied by his serene expression,
that smile so wide it wraps itself around the waist of the universe?
But here we are, working our way down the driveway,
one shovelful at a time.
We toss the light powder into the clear air.
Ad with every heave we disappear
and become lost to each other
in these sudden clouds of our own making,
these fountain-bursts of snow.
This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.
He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence,
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broker heater fan and a song on the radio.
All morning long we work side by side,
me with my commentary
and he inside the generous pocket of his silence,
until the hour is nearly noon
and the snow is piled high all around us;
then, I hear him speak.
After this, he asks,
can we go inside and play cards?
Certainly, I reply, and I will heat some milk
and bring cups of hot chocolate to the table
while you shuffle the deck,
and our boots stand dripping by the door.
Aaah, says the Buddha, lifting his eyes
and leaning for a moment on his shovel
before he drives the thin blade again
deep into the glittering white snow.
and here is something else I found profound:
The Weight of a Snowflake
"Tell me the weight of a snowflake," a coal mouse asked a wild dove.
"Nothing more than nothing," the dove answered.
"In that case I must tell you a marvelous story," the coal mouse said.
"I sat on a fir branch close to the trunk when it began to snow. Not heavily, not in a raging blizzard. No, just like in a dream, without any violence at all. Since I didn't have anything better to do, I counted the snowflaked settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was 3,471,952. When the next snowflake dripped onto the branch - nothing more than nothing - as you say, the branch broke off."
Having said that, the coal mouse ran away. The dove, since Noah's time an authority on peace, thought about the story for a while. Finally she said to herself, "Perhaps there is only one person's voice lacking for peace to come to the world."
Enjoy your holidays, and maybe I'll see some of you at Tummo in LA -
that is is Denver International Airport is open so I can leave!