Spring watch

The intermittent rain has been working on melting the last of the snow: snow piles left by shoveling and plowing, snow protected from the sun on the north side of buildings, and the snow left in the courtyard of the Whaling Museum across from our front windows.

Two days ago, a woman started working in that courtyard, pushing the snow up towards the main entrance of the museum. As I sat eating my lunch and drinking my tea, I couldn’t figure out what she was doing at first: why bother clearing away all that snow when it was going to melt in a few days anyway? But gradually she piled it up into a definite shape, and when I came back in the late afternoon the woman was gone, but she had left behind a sperm whale fashioned out of snow, with a black beady eye and a jaunty tail that, due to the limitations of the medium in which she worked, had to be a little too small.

This morning I sat at my desk, working my way through the Dhamma-kakka-ppavattana-sutta in preparation for this week’s sermon. I vaguely heard rain begin to patter on the roof and skylights. Barely conscious of it, I thought only that perhaps I’d get wet when I went for a walk today. I read on:

That this was the noble truth concerning sorrow, was not, O Bhikkus, among the doctrines handed down, but there arose within me the eye (to perceive it), there arose the knowledge (of its nature), there arose the understanding (of its cause), there arose the wisdom (to guide in the path of tranquility), there arose the light (to dispel darkness from it).

At last I had to get up and stretch. I wandered around, and looked out our front window to watch the rain coming down. The poor snow whale was being melted by the rain; its tail lay shattered on the ground behind it. Above it, tiny crimson flowers begin to open on the maple just across from our windows. The gray stone of street and courtyard reflect the gray sky. A woman walks by, clutching the hood of her blue coat so it will stay on her head.