It was time.
Time for what?
That I didn’t really know.
It felt like time to bundle up.
It felt like time to bundle up for a walk.
It felt like time to bundle up for a walk in the snow.
On went the layers.
On went the boots.
Ah, I see the snowshoes hanging on a nail.
Off the nail and onto my feet went the snowshoes.
Outside it was brisk.
Mother Nature’s white snow was glistening.
I was listening.
I heard the sounds of kids using the taboggan.
The slush and the laughter brought a smile to my face.
I veered off their path.
Leave them alone in their joy.
Crunch, crunch as I made tracks in the snow.
The sun warmed my cheeks before they felt the breeze.
Just around the bend, by the gravel path, I stopped, taking a moment to look at the old apple tree and making a mental note that it would need trimming this spring.
No tire tracks on this path.
There were footprints, animal tracks.
I followed the path and then stopped.
There it was, right before my eyes, the eyes behind the greenish-bluish glasses.
On this cold winter’s day, I saw it with my eyes.
There I heard and saw the water trickling.
Moving upwards through crevasses.
Trickling and cascading, downwards, too.
Cascading over pebbles and rocks as if to be a mighty waterfall.
There I stood.
There I stood and heard a sound.
The sound was the click of the shutter.
The sound was the click of the shutter and the crunch of the snow beneath my snowshoes.
I looked through the lens of the camera.
I looked through the lens of my eyeglasses.
Then I walked, slowly.
I stopped and noticed.
I stopped and noticed a tiny snowball.
This snowball was rolling away from my snowshoe.
This snowball stopped.
This snowball stopped as if to look at me.
It dared me.
It dared me to look.
So, I did.
I saw it.
There in the shadow.
There in the shadow of the snowball.
It spoke to me.
I looked at it again.
The sun moved.
The shadow changed.
Back to the path.
Back to the house.
Off came the snowshoes.
Off came the boots.
Off came the camera.
Off came the layers.
It was there.
The image came before me.
It was there when I closed my eyes.
That snowball was speaking to me.
That shadow was reaching out to me.
That heart was touching me.
The clock hands moved as I thought.
They had a rhythm.
I did not, yet.
I wrote more.
I played with words.
I played with letters within words.
I played with punctuation and breaks.
I slept with a pad and pencil beside me.
I walked away.
I was away for a few days.
I was away for a few weeks.
Then, the tug.
That wandering and those steps.
That shadow, that heart spoke to me.
What do I hear?
This is what I hear.
This is what is tugging at me.
Perhaps it is speaking to you, too.
This is what I will share with you, now.
This is what the shadow heart is saying to me.
Hear the Earth Teach,
*Featured image by the author with assistance provided by Colin J. Sass, son