Last Thursday the entire state was declared an emergency zone, and by Friday morning, the grocery stores had been plundered and shuttered and all residents scurried home to bunker down for a long weekend. The snow fell for two days.. and when it stopped the trees were drooping under a load of glittering finery. The massive pines across the street, in particular, looked like 17th century waltzers sagging under the most ridiculous ballroom gowns.
And I had the most wonderful weekend in recent memory. Moments like these can be thrilling for its sense of heightened importance: neighbors gather together in spontaneous parties and bring each other fresh bread and cookies, because nobody is driving anywhere- your world is suddenly concentrated into the space of your street. It is Sabbat for all: secular or religous- we all get to experience the sacred pause.
I put away my to-do lists and got the house ready for a weekend of crafts, cooking, baking, and planting. On Friday a grieving friend came over and we planted chives, parsley, cilantro, basil and thyme, in little clay pots lined up in a row on the windowsill. Out on the porch, we plunged our hands into the black earth as Sava leaned over our work, curious. She helped: she carried soil from one pot to another in little handfuls. She dumped pots over, so that the black earth was strewn onto the white ground below. We stomped our feet, studied black against white: it felt like ritual. Now, four days later, little green shoots are barely peeking their heads up, and they make me so happy I could cry.
On Saturday two girlfriends came over and we talked and held hands around the kitchen table, and then we mixed avocado with honey and plastered it on our faces, and then took turns in the bath getting rubbed with sugar and coconut oil. Sava leaning quiet against the edge of the tub to watch us work, and then leapt right into the process.... what a wonderful game! Sticking her hand into the amazing mixture (it looked like snow.. but was warm and sweet!) and wonderingly rubbed it in careful circles on my friend's legs. And then she got into the bath with me when it was my turn, and willingly submitted her body to the experience; holding up arms to be scrubbed, standing and watching her plump little belly and legs get done. Sava getting indoctrinated into the circle of womanhood- what a joyful inheritance. Later, while people ate the leftovers of last night's Indian feast (pumpkin curry venison, roasted vegetable gobi, dal and home-made garlic naan) and napped, I stood at the window watching the snow falling in exact tempo to the music playing inside (Rachel's: Music for Egon Schiele) and wept a little, at the heartbreaking beauty of the world.
Everybody is grieving: the world seems to be such a sad place right now- but I feel like we are grieving with the most beautifully open hearts. For right now, all this snow feels exactly right.
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