Just outside my window, a fat mistle thrush has been spending his days in the snow-lined branches of the big tree all week. He is fat like a Buddha, and his belly is generously speckled with dark spots.
As I watch, a slender great spotted woodpecker swoops in close, trying to brave it down to my feeders to peck at the tasty peanuts. I never tire of his monochrome feather patterns, his flashes of fire-engine red.
I leave my desk. Fatty comes to stand outside the front door with me for five minutes, looking at the snowscape, happy to come back inside into the warm.
I’ve been snowed in since Tuesday. I made it out to a supermarket yesterday, after my friend Caroline and I dug Rosie out of the snow with two dust-pans. After stocking up on sticky toffee pudding and fresh custard (and some more sensible stuck-in-the-snow food) I pushed my supermarket trolley into a slushy bit of the car park and had to be rescued (twice) by fellow shoppers.
I haven’t been able to make it into work for a while, which means I haven’t got paid. My bank account is running low. I am a little bit fed up of the snow now. But the snow is there. Can I let the experience in?
The practice of compassion means letting experience in. A Japanese poet, a woman named Izumi who lived in the tenth century, wrote: “Watching the moon at dawn, solitary, mid-sky, I knew myself completely. No part left out.” When we can open to all parts of ourselves and to others in the world, something quite extraordinary happens. We begin to connect with one another.
No part left out. The snow has given me a chance to get to know my new neighbours (they’ve brought me milk and we’ve trudged through the snow together for pub lunches). It’s given me a chance to finish my essay, and to see the mistle thrush. To write this.
Maybe I will get to work tomorrow, maybe I won’t. Time for a cup of earl grey.
Causes Fiona Robyn Supports