The introspective humdrum life of an eccentric hexagenarian.

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," organized bicycle rides for families, senior citizens, and anyone interested in getting back into biking; and "Cloister Voices," the collected thoughts of modern and ancient hermits, eccentrics, solitaires, wanderers, mystics, and others who inhabit the monastery within.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Afternoon

I couldn't help but notice the footsteps in the snow winding around the tree. Two sets of them. I am always curious about footsteps left behind and wonder who made them and what they were thinking about as they passed by.

These footsteps are ephemeral and will be gone within a day or even a few hours if more surprise snow arrives unlike the splayed footprints of a prehistoric bird I found imprinted inside a broken rock when I was ten.

The first mark we leave on the world is a set of inked footprints when we are only minutes old. Before we bear the weight of gravity on our first step to begin our lifetime path, we have a record imprinted on paper of our entry into the world. Will we lead or follow? Will our steps advance or retreat? Will others even notice our passing?

But these prints in the snow were not made by a bird or a baby. They are clearly the leavings of a bipedal being with enough excess weight on them to sink deep into the snow. They were not made in haste but by someone thoughtfully walking a slow pace and stopping frequently to what? Think? Listen to the wind? Share a word with their companion leaving similar steps beside them? Stop for a frosty kiss as they ponder the sunset, hand in hand?

It was then that I noticed them in the distance in the space between the two trees and now turning a pale rosy color from the last rays of the sun slipping behind Chatham hill.

Snowmen! Or was it a snow couple? Yes, I think that was the case although it's hard to determine the gender of snow people from such a distance.

For a wonderful split second, reality was suspended and I was certain they were the ones who left the footprints behind for me to discover and to share the secret that all things are sentient and willing to meet us halfway to share their journey.

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