Saturday, December 15, 2012

the Zen of things

As the year concludes--
wanderer's hat on my head,
sandals on my feet

When winter comes, as it has in the last couple of days, I tend to pull inward as many people and bears do. Not exactly hibernation. I do not live in a cave (although I could probably live off of my fat for a couple of months if I had to) and I definitely do not have to drive to work or be on someone else's schedule. That has been an advantage of the dramatic move we made to New Mexico two decades ago. When I work, it's freelance and can be done in my own space on my own schedule (a blessing and a curse). There were other prices to pay for our choice (there always are), but that's another story. Our house is partially passive solar and it gets pretty warm on sunny winter days. In response, I tend to wear flip flops in the house on most days. But my feet can get cold. I few years ago I knitted, with the softest sock yarn I could find, two pairs of tabi socks (the traditional name for the Japanese split-toe sock).
I wore them for a winter or two and then, frankly, forgot about them. Until a few days ago when my friend Mag was visiting and we went shopping (which we do together a lot; eating also) and went into Wabi-Sabi in Taos where they had a basket filled with authentic cotton tabi socks. I bought a pair and then remembered the ones I'd knit.
In a book my friend Gayle gave me before she left this world, Wabi-sabi is defined as:
a beauty of things imperfect, 
impermanent, and incomplete.
It is a beauty of things modest and humble.
It is a beauty of things unconventional.

On this day after a heavy snowstorm, when there has been such a major senseless tragedy in my former home of Connecticut, in a town I passed through every day on my way to work, where I stopped often in the little Newtown yarn shop on my way home, where I was once almost arrested for talking back to the town's one bad traffic cop, a place a few short miles away from Danbury Hospital where my husband's life was saved so very long ago -- there are numerous heartbreaks that I can't reconcile on this cold day. Heartbreaks awakened by that tragedy. A reality check, perhaps.

My feet are warm and all I can do is practice the mindful breathing my friend Pearl taught me--and knit. Dante's sweater, another pair of socks....a simple act, string passing through my fingers, the sense of things modest and humble. A nothingness alive with possibility.

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