Please forgive me: For some reason this post did not appear this morning! So only getting it online this afternoon. My most humble apologies:

Good morning everyone. I’m coming a bit late to the game today; I gave myself a brief much-needed break…

It’s another superbly clear and cold day here in Montreuil. From the house, it looks like the plants at the back of the garden are frozen. The plants nearer to the house, less exposed to the elements, don’t look frosty but they are motionless and stiff. Yet one plant is still flowering! My husband says it’s an « anémone du japon » (which he planted a few months ago) and he is as surprised as I am to see the delicate white flowers still blooming in the chill this morning.

I come from the great north region of the United States near the Canadian border, where winter is severe and ice and frost is plentiful and common.  Every Dec. 1 in my youth (secret: my birthday) was bitterly cold, but the mountains of snow were an unending delight for us children. I don’t remember being bothered by the cold; it was just what it was. So today, perhaps nostalgic, I want to see the frost up close. Before breakfast, I put on my coat and shoes and venture into the garden. The cat is delighted and runs out the door with me.

How wonderful it is to step into what I had only been looking at from a distance! There are far more red berries scattered on the ground than I thought. The grass, too, is frozen. The leaves of the bamboo stalks seem to be weighed down with the cold. The pine tree planted after my transmission 12 years ago stands tall, unswayed by winter’s edge. But below it, the little shrubs and bramble are covered with frost. While the vine climbing the back wall is surprisingly vibrant and green in the brilliant sunlight. 

I would not know any of this if I had stayed in the house. Of course, all of it was there, but if I keep myself separate and distant, I can’t see and experience it. Look around today and try taking a step closer – to yourself, to others, to whatever arises.

Thanks for joining me in this adventure. I’m looking forward to hearing from you all again today.