The flakes are getting bigger as the hours go by and the snow still streams almost horizontally across my living room window from right to left, or north to south. Every once in a while the current gets caught by the overhang of my porch roof and the white bits swarm up against the glass like curious creatures in an aquarium at feeding time. The man who tends the landscape in my subdivision came by in his pickup truck and plowed the tiny cul-de-sac on which I live only about an hour ago, but as I look outside now it is almost impossible to tell where he drove. We are desperate for water in Colorado, so even on the news shows no one is complaining on this last Sunday in February.
I am not happy about being housebound on such a cold and blustery day. It’s not like I had anything pressing I would have done had it been a less challenging weather event. It is more the fact that I feel resentful of my limited choices of how to entertain myself. Laundry and house cleaning are necessary evils I do to pass the time. I flick the switch to light the gas fireplace for the benefit of my short-haired little dog. He’ll lie there for hours cooking like a deli hotdog rolling behind the glass on metal bars. I slog through the snow to the house across the street to ask my neighbor to help me start my snowblower.
The snow is deep but not very wet and heavy. I plow my driveway even though a few more inches of snow are expected. Shoveling the steps and the walk to my house is hard work. All of these are the simplest of tasks I finally realize. Going to the gym for the last few months means my back isn’t complaining too badly a couple of hours later. The fact that I even have a house, with a gas fireplace I can wastefully turn on for the dog, a warm shelter with a stocked refrigerator in the middle of a storm, is a miracle so many millions of my fellow human beings can’t even imagine. Snow stings my face and blurs my glasses, and I am grateful.
My birthday is in May. I will be 60 this year. I want to do something to celebrate, but I don’t think that includes a party. At least not yet. Instead I have begun to put a few things on something like a “bucket list.” They aren’t things I want to do before I die, but perhaps they are things I am finding I really would just like to do.
“Will you be coming with my daughter and me to Oregon this year to help at the Healing Circle weekend for Veterans and their families?” my friend asks. We went two years ago at the invitation of one of the Native American tribal wisdom keepers my friend had become friends with. The yearly event came about because a man had had a vision of healing for everyone afflicted by war, not just Native Americans. This would be the ninth one.
“Sure,” I said. I didn’t have to think about it long. “It’s just what I need to kick my healing practice back into gear.” I was thinking about the office I opened with another friend not even a month ago. Confidence is something gained by doing. Nothing like a four day weekend of working with one person after another to get some “doing” under your belt. We work with many kinds of healing modalities like Reiki, and sound healing, and essential oils.
There is a ten-day painting workshop in May in Taos, New Mexico I would like to go to. It costs a fortune and it’s always full, but it’s not an unmanageable drive from where I live in Colorado. I’ve been to a shorter workshop there, but this long one feels special. I called today and got myself on the wait list. “How many people are on the list,” I asked.
“One,” said the woman who answered the phone. “It’s close to the time they have to have the workshop paid in full. Sometimes they can’t gather the money.” Good. There is only one person ahead of me. People always drop out. Shit happens. I think it would be a great present to myself. I have to trust it’ll work out.
The workshop is about awakening creativity. It is a process to help you access hidden emotional recesses and ferret out the stuff that keeps you from living your own life as deeply as you want. Last summer my friend came to visit and made me dig out old paintings I had from other workshops. “Frame them and hang them up,” she said. So I did pick a few out and hang them in my house.
I’ve hidden so deeply from myself in the years since my divorce (and since I last took a painting workshop) I hardly even know who that woman was who visioned all the things in those paintings. I feel her coming back to life. Life this year is about getting out of my house and allowing myself to “go public.” I know a great astrologer in the UK who has done some readings for me. “For you, Chris,” he said, “life truly does begin at 60.”