It’s cold today. There’s a low layer of cloud over the town. The big maple tree in the yard has lost its leaves. Most of the houses on the street look buttoned up. No one is sitting on the porches drinking coffee. One lone man across the street smokes a cigarette hurriedly, eager to get back inside. On the surface, of course, all the gardens are dead. The world feels repainted in shades of gray and brown.
Someone very dear to me recently described migraines to me. She said it was about all those little dots that swirl into our vision when we change the focus from seeing, to what is it that we’re seeing?, and she said that these dots become connected by trails of light and lightning. It was an evocative image.
This morning, while I was doing tai chi in this cold gray new world of oncoming winter, those dots swam into view. It was as if the world had suddenly become pointillist. I was reminded of this description of migraines, and I resolved to work with this vision of the world. While the lightning never appeared, nor did the migraines (fortunately!) I found that there were layers of deep beauty even in this darkening world of oncoming winter.
I felt myself warming up and even sweating a bit from the tai chi work, even as my joints creaked and my bones swayed from the daily practice, just like an old maple tree stubbornly clinging to its last leaves. I won’t flee inside from the cold so easily for my morning tai chi routine when I can do it outside, but I know the days are coming when it simply won’t be possible to work outside for a bit. In the meantime, I press and push and roll back and Buddha’s Palm in the changing weather, and see the world with new eyes.