One of us lives on the east coast. One of us lives on the west.

One of us lives in a rural community. One of us lives in a city.

Both of us wander. Both of us witness. Both of us write.

This is a record of what we find.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow Mandala

Man, it has been windy around here lately! Cold gusts sneak attacking from the side, slapping an icy palm across one ear. Ooooh! Wakes me up in the morning, that’s for sure…

…and I would be a little frustrated with the wind, and just a little tired of my one frozen ear (and frozen toes and fingers to go along with it) if it weren’t for my cross country skis, the field past my house and Tibetan Healing Mandalas.


I have been cross country skiing for the last few weeks in this incredible field past the farm on my dead-end street. It is adjacent to the cow field on one side, and borders the river on another. It is huge and open and covered in snow. The first time I went skiing, the field was smooth and sparkling. No tracks had been laid, and I trudged through shin-deep snow to lay the first ones down. I was psyched. And I knew that the next time I went out I would have a track to follow. It is much easier to ski in an already-made track! But the next time? No track. None. The wind had swept it away. So I rolled up my sleeves (not really though, or I would have had frozen elbows along with my frozen ear, toes and fingers) and I made another track. But the next time I went out…

You get the picture. It was gone. Evaporated. Wind-swept.

As I said, at that point I would have been a little frustrated. Except that the image of a Tibetan Healing Mandala crept into my mind. Those breath-taking balanced and geometric creations constructed from millions of grains of sand by Tibetan monks. These mandalas are believed to effect purification and healing, and their healing powers are supposed to extend to the whole world, which is then symbolized in the final act of sweeping them up and dispersing them into flowing water.

(A little like the purifying baptism of Zachary Beaver in Kimberly Willis Holt’s When Zachary Beaver Came to Town…not Buddhism, but truly the whole town seems to be healed in the process…)

Anyway, as I took a deep breath and began my journey around the field for a third time the cows wandered over to see what I was doing, and the river crackled as its layers of ice shifted and broke and its cold water flowed. The image of the mandala had trekked to my feet. I was making my own balanced and healing creation—right in the field past my house.


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