Thoughts on a Snowy Evening

I know something of emotional distress. It has been my companion over the years more often than I would have chosen myself. Each person experiences life from a unique vantage point, but as human beings, we experience many similar circumstances. Our common experiences, however closely related in a general sense, are frequently colored by our individual interpretations of them, and often barely recognizable as shared for that reason. While each person’s life is not repeatable in precisely the same way as ours, there are a few universal truths which can be appreciated by anyone who has had a broad enough range of experience.

One snowy, winter night, some years ago, as I thought of the turbulence that had come to define my life at that time, I looked up at the frozen mist, and lost myself momentarily in the echoes of memory, trying to connect to my heart’s rhythms and to my truest self. I realized at that moment, just how important our thoughts, memories and emotions could be.

Photo by Roderick Chen

I stepped out into the night and took a walk in the falling snow. I had been struggling with an inner pain that seemed to be eating away at me a little at a time, and I couldn’t seem to shake it. I always stepped into the light of each new day with the hope that somehow I would find a way to put it behind me, but no matter how hard I tried, it seemed to linger deep within the forest of consciousness, and sometimes, the stillness of the night quieted my mind to the point where the echoes of my traumatic past came vividly alive.

In the dim light from above my head, I looked up at the frozen mist, and recalled a moment so painful, and so deeply rooted, that I lost myself momentarily in those echoes, and could not hold my passions at bay. They spilled forth with a vengeance, and I wept bitterly for just a moment or two in the silence and the snow. There was no remedy for my affliction. No gentle caress to ease the burden I carried along that snowy path.

The quiet beauty and elegant whisper of the snowflakes as they descended on that particular evening, far from being a welcomed respite from the emotional pain, actually felt like little stones striking my flesh. I stood trembling under the canopy of night, breathing deeply in an attempt to gather my strength for my next leg of the journey, in what I felt was a vain attempt to resume the trek past the pain.

Nothing in your life, PRIOR to this moment, can prepare you fully for life AT this moment. That is the nature of life. We live each moment as it arrives, and respond to the many twists and turns, with only as much wisdom as we have been able to accumulate by the time each moment arrives. It isn’t hard to lose our way, or to abandon hope for finding a safe place to begin again.

The way to gain a true picture of our place within the currents of time is to consider what the world would be like without us. The missing joys of our early childhood for our loved ones—the lives of our young friends unaltered by our friendship—the lost comfort of those whom WE consoled in times of pain—the feelings of love and completeness undiscovered by our mate and children—the uncertainty of the outcome of EVERY event lacking our involvement, as well as all the things that are yet to unfold due to our previous intervention—each of these considerations amounts to years of significant contributions that only WE could have made.

The world moves with or without us, and will continue to rotate on its axis as long as conditions in our solar system remain constant. Barring some catastrophic galactic event, we can, within reasonable limits, expect that the events of our lives will not alter greatly the chaos of the universe. However, as we step into the light of each new day, the endless realm of possibility, borne upon the tides of our sometimes unfathomable longings, awaits our contributions.