Songs of Nature

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Day 12

Written By Eyleen Farmer

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson, Hawkeye Nature Photography


One day tells its tale to another, and one night imparts its knowledge to another. 
—Psalm 19:2

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson; copyright 2010It’s snowing today where I am. It started last night, and by this morning there were at least 10 inches on the patio table. Early this morning the snow came down in flecks of ice so small that I could hardly see them. Later it floated down in fat, lazy flakes. Later still, while I was outside shoveling the drive, it started to blow in nearly horizontal sheets of white.    

The Inuit language has multiple words for snow. There’s soft snow and wet snow and deep snow and new snow. There are snow drifts and snow storms and snow banks. Snow, in its wild array of expressions, cannot adequately be signified by just one word.

The same is true of grief. It changes from day to day, sometimes hour to hour. When we pay close enough attention, we begin to notice minute to minute, even breath to breath fluctuations. One moment we feel a piercing stab of sorrow. The next moment a persistent throb. Then a silent and formless ache. Even that ache will ebb and flow.

Attentiveness to the subtle movements of our own suffering will not make the pain go away. But it will help us to stay in the moment—at least, it has helped me during the most challenging times in my life. And when we are present to our own experience, instead of running headlong into an imagined future or dragging our entire past behind us, we are able to handle whatever we must with a bit more patience and grace.   

Ask yourself, when you think you can’t possibly endure even one more minute, how am I doing right now? When we have enough presence of mind to do this, we find that we really can carry on until the next moment. And then the next one. It’s as if there is a hand that steadies us and gives us what we need in that moment. Pay attention. Be curious.

There is now a foot and a half of snow on the patio table. It’s still coming down. Every time I look out the window, the scene is different. And every time I look in my heart, there is something new to see.

 O God, Lord of all my days and all my nights, of all my hours and minutes, stay with me. Amen.