Cold comfort

Winter’s here. In May, when the earth baked and the sky simmered, we thought we’d never live to see the heat die down. And now it has. The very air feels too cold to breathe. It goes through the nostrils and I can feel it chilling my lungs through and through. At night, for the longest while, the toes and soles of my feet are numb and frozen under my heavy quilt, my razai filled with beaten, fluffy cotton. 

The fingers that tap on the keyboard feel like two twigs, cold and lifeless. 

My mother the zen master is sick of hearing me complain about the cold. “Yesterday it was the heat. Today its the cold. Tomorrow it will be something else. Why don’t you learn to be patient?”

Ah, patience. And the art of surviving the cold. And the heat. And the heartbreak. And the suffering. 

Not just surviving. There’s something more, something else. Finding beauty, perhaps? Or the kernel of heat that lies enclosed within cold, the moment when one stops gritting and tightening against it, and allows it to flow through?   

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