winter souls

Freezing days and nights are this season's signature, an  uncommon thing for Western Oregon. Snow remains around our edges in Eugene from a storm seven days ago. My chilly fingers type, as the woodstove rests quietly empty on a day in our valley of inverted air.

Seeking to allow people breathing space is admirable. I find myself expecting slower days, with moments of quiet, long-drawn breaths in relaxation. But there are people and happenings and many prayers to ponder, to experience, to keep me active. This is good. I am grateful.

Our geriatric Westley kitty continues his vocal living. He has become a skinny critter, and I think this helps his lot. Our resident musician, still calling Westley "Pooky", remarks that he is unique. Well, he did learn his ways from our (now long reposed) cat-sized doggy.

I've learned my ways from amazing souls. Some of whom I deeply miss, dark in this winter passage. Some can't help remaining distant, their lives all about growing and educating and maintaining a living best as they can, far from their previous valley home. They endure the blizzards, warming their faces by faithful flames. Some are wholly distant from this realm, though maybe not so far off as they seem. Some are here and not with me--our universes converge on rare occasions, by surprise. This is also good.

Every one met on this journey leaves an impression, a lasting ember with which to mark my prayers, my actions. Recently a young man stayed with us a few nights. Tim helped him hang his tent in the garage to dry. He asked for little, thanked us profusely, and returned to a universe where fingers only warm in spring.

Rarely do I sacrificially suffer for these dear ones, though I groan while cooking them pizza or enduring online package-sending mazes. Yet their presence in reality directs me toward that narrow passage so essential. They help me prepare to traverse it, for love, for freedom, and for enduring to the uttermost. Whether I freeze or thaw depends on me, but also with them, in the heart of my soul.