Monday, January 19, 2009

So, on Saturday, I left the sun, sea, and sage of Southern California and returned to Rhode Island.  In true form, Providence was cold, grey, and snowing softly when I arrived.

Late last night, I ventured out into the snow.  The sky was pale, luminous, and opaque, and it seemed somehow closer to the earth.  I walked for a while, and then paused in the middle of the street to gaze at snow passing through a nearby streetlamp's yellow glow.  The absence of my footsteps' crunch crunch crunch allowed me to really listen in on other things.  First, I heard the gentle plodding of snow on the brim of my hat.  Then I heard the icy shimmering sound of snow falling on the trees, the houses, the sidewalk, everywhere, for what seemed like forever into the distance.  I hadn't realized that snow made a sound.  The sound of snow falling, snow on snow, seemed to bring far-off mountains, cities, and bare forests very close.  

"Love one another."  These words came into my head, and repeated themselves.  How do I love people?  I mean, how do I really love people?  Yes, of course I love my friends and family.  I even love and show love for friends of friends, acquaintances, students, co-workers, professors.  Even my exes.  But that's easy.  Do I love and show love for complete strangers, especially those that usually receive no love?  Do I open myself and give of myself generously, with heart in hand, or do I hurry past, awkwardly?  

Then again, do I really show love for those I consider to be my friends?  In my own house, there is someone whose frequent power trips and lack of tact really annoy me.  I love him very much, but sometimes I complain about him behind his back.  I also happily participate in conversations where others complain about him.  Last night, in front of a dark tree drooping heavy with ice, I came face to face with my true intentions:  in complaining about him, I'm actually hoping to fracture the community against him.  I realized how often I sow discord, intentionally.  This realization made me feel heavy and dry.  

I closed my eyes.  There it was again:  snow, soft on the brim of my hat.  I let the cold stillness into my skin.

No comments: