Amazing what a walk will do! I was heading this afternoon from my office to the gym, mentally putting the finishing touches on what I might write this afternoon. I had had a student earlier in the week come talk to me about Occupy Denver. And then, this morning, I was listening to an interview having to do with religion, zombies-on-TV, and popular culture. What RICH material for an afternoon's meditation! But, as I walked the snowy path to the fitness center, I noticed heart after heart after heart scribed in the snow. Sometimes there was an arrow through the heart, but most often a single heart. There must have been 25 or 30 of them on either side of the path, or, as in the photo above, on the snow remaining on top of one of the hedges.
Occupying zombies went out of my head, and I realized that something as fleeting as a snowy heart was much more noteworthy. (I may return to zombies and the Occupy movement in future weeks.) But, on a day when I was tired, but knowing I needed time on my spin bike (which would both invigorate and exhaust me further), the procession of hearts took ahold of mine.
Someone, possessed by some spirit, took the time to stop every so often and, with two or three swipes of a finger, left for those coming after him/her a somewhat whimsical bit of encouragement and hope. After I saw the first couple, I kept looking for more and they kept appearing. They even crossed busy thoroughfares. My spirits rose; my fatigue left.
In a time of the year when the light begins to wane, when days grow shorter, we long for light. All of the religious/spiritual traditions that light candles or bonfires at the winter solstice witness to this longing for new life. We look for the rekindling of light, for refreshment of heart.
The anonymous heart-carver provided that for me. And the juxtaposition of the heart with the leaves poking through the snow simply doubled the message. None of us are prevented from providing similar simple messages of hope; a couple swipes of a finger in the snow and our hearts are occupied in an entirely different way.