Friday, 24 June 2016


41. Stand at the window of a nicely heated room. Suddenly notice a brief flurry of white specks in the air outside. Feel excitement at the prospect that it might soon snow - an infrequent event in this part of the Blue Mountains (altitude one thousand metres). After some time more specks slanting through the air past the window. The sky clears and the sun comes out. So that was that. But then more dark clouds roll in from the south-west. The swirling specks are now proper snowflakes. Feel disappointment when they melt as soon as they hit the ground. Again the air clears and the neighbourhood is once more splashed with weak sunshine. Decide to sit zazen but keep the curtains open. An hour passes and the sky is suddenly alive with the constant swirling and diving and spinning and slanting of snowflakes that come to settle on house roofs, bushes, tree branches, cars, fences, ground. The everyday world is transformed. Venture forth into the cold air. Clear water is running in the gutters beside the road. No one else is out and about except for a couple of kids and their dad. They are busy building a snowman. One or two cars go by, driving more sedately than usual. Time to head for home and the warm comfort of indoors. Wonder how long the magic will last? Old timers say that sixty years ago this was a regular event in these parts. And the snowfalls were much heavier. Not so nowadays.

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