Monday, November 25, 2013
I woke up this morning feeling a little "under the weather." Not quite sick, but not quite right either. When I went to bed last night, my apartment was warm. Waking, it was cold. This is how it goes, living in an old building with a middling heating system and a slightly cheap landlord.
It's not winter yet, but the past few days have felt like winter. Winter in Minnesota is a long slog, so much so that every moment which breaks through the icy grip on us is a moment worth celebrating.
However, many ways in which we Minnesotans tend to reject the dark, harshly cold days of January for example, are similar to how humans choose to reject whatever experiences and emotions they don't wish to experience.
In other words, our tough doggedness comes with a side of bitching and moaning.
I remember a story about Zen teacher Katagiri Roshi, during the early days of Hokyoji, a retreat center in southern Minnesota. He was doing zazen outside with a small group of students and it was cold, very cold. Someone asked Roshi how he was taking it, the cold I mean, and he responded something like "When it's cold, just be cold. When it's hot, just be hot." I can imagine this guy sitting in his robes with his teeth chattering as he said this. It's a pretty funny image, and also a quality example of not adding on to one's experience.
Talking about the weather is a common point of connection here in the land of 10,000+ (frozen) lakes. We use it as a gateway to bonding, an almost fool proof mechanism to bring ease between even the most dissimilar of people. But I think most of that talking is just adding on, and in many cases, in ways that promote rejection of what's present.
How to engage "weather conversations" differently?
Today, no answers. Just one frosty breath after another.
*Photo: Minnesota snow storm. December 2010.