Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Sacrament of the First Snowfall

For those of you who aren't as wild about monasticism as I am, here's a little poetic intermission from my monastic treatises. Today we had our first snowfall of the season in Littleton, and I had forgotten how much I missed it. So, delighted fool that I am, I went out for a long walk on the trails behind the seminary. Here's a poem I wrote about it:

I wander wearily out of class today

And am greeted by gentle joy

That floats down, soft and white,

From the heavens.

I cannot stay too long

In the warmth of my apartment;

The wildness of the day calls me out

To embrace it,

To laugh in the wonder of its beauty.

I don my red hooded sweatshirt

And venture out into the cold.

My nose and cheeks begin to numb

Almost instantly,

But I stop and fill my exultant lungs.

I love the biting freshness of the air

And the gentle fury of the snow.

I am the only one on the trails today,

So I wander alone,

Hands tucked in my sweatshirt pouch,

Like a vermillion monk from a bygone age.

An otherworldly mist hangs over the pond

And over the rushing creek,

Swirling in the chill breezes

Where the water meets the wind.

Four geese fly overhead in formation,

Then break off, two to the east and two to the west,

Opening the curtain of the world’s stage before me.

The stolid heron regards me strangely

As I greet him at the water’s edge,

His long neck pulled back

Against the warmth of his breast.

But he wants no visitors today,

So I wander on, into the little wooded strip

That graces the banks of the stream.

And there I pause,

And watch as the busy, raucous world

Is blanketed in the quiet peace

Of the winter’s first snow.

There is laughter in each snowflake,

A silent delight in the turning of the days,

As God welcomes me home again.