be here now

The sky dropped nearly a foot of wet, dense snow on us, and now we face the task of digging out.  I wouldn’t have to, really, as the weather will probably warm, and all the snow will disappear on its own.  But I like shoveling snow, and my toddler loves being out in it, so we spent a good portion of our day outside, taking turns wielding the “shubble,” as my tot calls it.

The snow is beautiful.  I lift scoop after scoop, keeping an eye on my boy as he wanders down the yard, half-walking, half-swimming in deep drifts.  He tumbles and squeals.  His hat falls off, and I try to put it back on him.  “I don’t aunt it,” he insists.  I see the neighbor clearing his deck in a t-shirt, so I figure a bare noggin is probably fine, at least for a while.  One by one, my son’s boots get sucked off by the snow, and I pick him up, carrying him back to the house like a sack of potatoes, if potatoes were known for kicking and crying and yelling.  I put him down by the door to brush the chunks of snow off him, and he darts back to the snow, just in socks.

He runs, squealing joyfully, and I follow him, but slowly, as I’m hindered by my jacket’s pocket zipper… as I try to take out my phone and capture some of his glee.  I take a few photos, none of which captures quite how happy this makes him, and then I give up and just watch, taking it all in.  The white-carpeted trees, the crunch beneath my feet, the way the snow muffles all the sounds.

A slushy rain starts falling, and I put the phone away, zip up my pocket, put my mittens back on and go to my son’s side.  He pulls a colorful knitted sock out of the snow, hands it to me, announcing that it is wet.

“Do you ever get cold?” I ask him.

“No,” he insists, looking up at me with one bare foot and one sock-covered foot, standing in a another foot of wet snow.

I pick him up anyway.  He protests loudly as I carry him to the house, this time depositing him inside, determined to keep him there at least long enough to put dry clothes on him.  He fusses for a minute and then relents, helps remove the rest of his wet gear, and heads upstairs for a much-needed nap.  I tuck him in and he slumbers, and I head downstairs to see that more snow is falling, the wind is picking up, and I know we’ll have more to do when he wakes, and know he’ll be delighted by it.

A couple four-wheel-drive trucks have managed to make it down our sleepy little street, but the rest of us with cars are staying put, content to tuck in by the fireplace with a cup of cocoa.

As I sit by the fire, I resist the urge to reach to my phone, and just sit instead, savoring this quiet, snow-filled day.  May each day bring us these moments, when we opt for what is tangibly before us, not on an illuminated screen.  The dumpster fire of politics will burn on with or without my gaze.  The one in my fireplace needs my attention, right here, right now.

Happy winter, friends.  Wishing you peace and love and the best present of all:  presence.


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