THE GREAT MAN’S ENLIGHTENMENT

Well, we tried to take the day seriously. We sat to commemorate the Buddha’s enlightenment, all the bells, bows, and whistles. But sometime after 1:00 the snow started coming down heavily and I decided to abort because I don’t like to drive in heavy snow.

What are you going to do? asked Bernie when I returned home earlier than expected.

I’m tired, I’ll think I’ll take a nap.

But instead I decided to take Stanley out into the snow. Take Stanley out? Who am I kidding? No, take me out. After all, it was the first snow of winter, calling me out to play just like it did many years ago, just like it does every year. You want to leap into the air to greet those flakes and welcome them back for another season, feel the gratitude that I lived for another winter to see more snow.

So Stanley, who has seen 14 years of snow and never tires of it, went out with me. We were so excited we forgot about his collar and leash, forgot about his sweater and even about our hunting vests. We walked up to the road where no cars traveled, then turned into the woods, forgetting about the hunters. Climbed up the hill, Stanley half running in delirium (Act your age! I tell him), and then slid back down the slippery path, Stanley cheering me on happily: Cool!

Came home and walked out to the back. The birds were at the full birdfeeders, the birdbath had water for them, and I wanted to leap into a snow bank. But there was no snow bank yet, just a couple of inches of snow, so we went back home and appreciated the warm house and a warm cup of tea.

It was the perfect way to celebrate the great man’s enlightenment.