Snow Day

The Day after our Winter Retreat came to a close we woke up to an active snowfall. It has been fairly mild since the very cold week at the end of December and signs of spring were everywhere: daffodils and tulips popping up everywhere, buds and new growth on all the trees, little flowers on the umi and cherry trees, leaves bursting out on a few shrubs and trees and so on.

“Tending Clouds’

The snow this morning was very wet with slush everywhere. This late in the winter (a month to spring!) dry powder is a real rarity. But as the sky lightened it cooled down a little further and light dryer snow continued to fall.

Into the woods

Walking around the grounds, taking in the winter wonderland, loud reports from trees collapsing under the weight of the snow was periodically heard. Sometimes followed by the loud crash of a collapse sometimes it was clearly just a branch breaking. Over a fifteen minute walk or so there were at least three trees lost.

Looking from Roshi’s cottage toward the Kitchen/Dining hall

Meteorologically it become increasing difficult for the conditions to align for snow in Western Washing after mid-February. Not to say that there hasn’t been plenty of days of snow in March and even a smattering in April. But usually wet, followed by rain, hard pressed to stick around. However the temperatures are forecast to be below freezing for the next couple days here. Any snow that doesn’t melt today will be ice for the rest of the week.

The Zendo, with its new roof obscured by snow.

By nine AM the light snowfall had come to a close and it began to warm up. Already wet and heavy as it begin to melt it began to slough off buildings, branches and other surfaces with increasing abandon. Even this late the sound of shattering trees would periodically occur. This winter has been hard on the trees with the endless storms and this snowfall seems to be taking down those weakened but still standing from the storms.

“Old Awl Hermitage”

There are few greater pleasures than walking around in the snow, taking in the spare beauty. If the snow is actively falling all the more so. Of course lingering snow and ice is less welcome, but as these pictures demonstrate the glory of a snow day is undeniable.

By midmorning the snow was quickly turning into large puddles of slush, roads clearing, ice melting, trees shrugging off their blankets of snow. Impermanence is all around us in all circumstances, arising and falling away. We must simple be present and unattached, enjoying the falling snow and likewise the melting snow. It is all just this.

For a lot more photos of this snow day, please browse through the gallery below or on Flickr: Snow Day.

Snow Day Feb 21st, 2022
February Snow Day at Tahoma Zen Monastery