Saturday, December 13, 2014

Footprints in the Snow

Even though the coldest 90 days of the year began on December 9, temperatures here are hovering just above freezing during the day and just below freezing at night. This creates a lovely white winter with snow cover but no ice underfoot. Crunchy not slushy. Crusty not slippery. A dusting of snow every few days keeps the snow looking fresh.

In the snow on the back step, I saw footprints--of a cat, which puzzles me since none of my neighbors have cats nor have we seen a feral cat lurking around. These footprints came right to the back door.

The other night, when I was home alone, an outdoor floodlight, which has a motion detector, flashed on. I startled and felt the adrenalin of fear in my body even as my mind immediately started talking myself out of it. Just a wild animal. At the back door? Probably a raccoon. What if it's a person?

My body felt afraid. My mind wanted to ignore the body and pretend nothing was happening. We do this all the time--ignore the signals our body sends us. We ignore all sorts of emotions--fear, sadness, irritation, impatience. You could call it denial. You could call it avoidance. You could call it ignor-ance.

Wild animals make their living by listening to their bodies. One false step and it's over. We don't live in such a precarious position. We use our minds to argue with our bodies constantly.

Fear in my body felt very uncomfortable. I wanted to get away from it, so i used my mind to talk me out of it. I could have simply been present with fear and discomfort. It ends of its own accord. Even fear is impermanent.

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