Meditations in the Snow

I've been taking walks and snow shoeing in Northampton while staying at a friend's apartment and taking care of her two adorable kitties.  I found a path by a stream, behind the houses that make up the lovely neighborhoods surrounding Smith College.  The path has shown me many of it's secrets which gives me feelings of peacefulness and delight.  Some signs, perhaps coincidentally or not, came to me on my walk.  There is a spiraling labyrinth under a thick layer of snow with colorful Tibetan prayer flags hanging over it, made by a small community of three neighboring families.  It's a space tucked away from it all where you are invited to walk, reflect and say prayers.  Although I was tempted to go into the spiral, the smooth, beautiful whiteness of the untouched snow as it contoured over the spiral was so pure and poetic that I couldn't disturb the image with my footprints.  I want other's to have the opportunity to stand and admire the spiral's shape in the snow and reflect.

I've been reading "The Way To Freedom: Core Teachings of Tibetan Buddhism" by His Holiness The Dalai Lama and thinking about Buddha's teachings and instructions, and the law of karma or cause and effect.  Coming across these spaces unexpectedly while I was on a quiet walk to get fresh air, exercise and let my mind wander was an interesting and synchronizing way for the physical surroundings to affirm my state of mind.   Later as I came out of the woods that followed the stream on to Smith's campus I found a sitting pagoda with Japanese style gardens around it and a Buddha peaking out of a snow drift.