Walking In The Snow

A new year begins, and with it I embark on a new journey born of renewed intention – even as the mud and memories of years gone by remain. The holiday season brought with it all the joy and sorrow of the karma that is mine; and now I live with the renewed intention that urged me to sit rohatsu sesshin at Sanshinji at the beginning of the last month of last year.

Some days into that sesshin it began to snow. I walked in it one day after lunch, just as it was ceasing its accumulation. Here are some photographs of that walk, accompanied by the poetry that has been percolating somewhere in the back of my mind ever since:

Walking In The Snow

Walking in the snow is a meditation
That unfolds of its own accord.
If one must speak in terms of beginnings,
Then it begins with the closing of the door behind us.
And it ends when…, well…,
Who can say when it ends?


A closing door,
A garden fencerow –
A walk in the snow quickly leaves such things behind.
And what remains are memories
Of what we want,
And what we need.


A path to walk,
A place to sit –
These will not be as they once were.
But as the snowy walk continues
The nature that is us
Becomes the nature of that which is,
And new paths,
And new places for the mind to rest


Snow-laden bamboo
Bends to earth,
And we receive its cool embrace.
A darkened hollow beneath a rock
Invites us in,
And mind accepts.


For mind is a deer
Walking nimbly.
And mind is a rabbit
Waiting in stillness.
And mind is a tree
Rooted in the heavens.
And mind is a bird
Peering into the circle of all the world.


The pine bough bends
Beneath the weight of so much snow.
It is our teacher.
Revealing to us how we can be –
Bending without breaking
Beneath the weight of all that is.


Such teachings abound during a snowy walk:
Revealing how to subtly color all the world
With precisely the required hue,
Showing how we might stand with all beings
With the entire measure of this Life force that is “ours”,
And whispering to us that in death is Life –
What a gloriously resounding whisper to be heard!


The pine stitch holds the maneki of our rakusu in place

as we sit and as we work…

Copyright 2014 by Mark Frank


  1. I love this, and did a snow walk meditation just last night as the sun was setting in Massachusetts. Thank you for this, so glad I found it just now.

  2. I'm glad you can relate, Mama Lisa! I love the way a blanket of snow prolongs the twilight as all those light rays keep reflecting all around. Thank you for reading!


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