Enlightenment in a Snow Shovel

shovel-snow-winter-826634-lYou have probably heard the Buddhist quotation, “Before enlightenment I carry water and sweep the floor.  After enlightenment I carry water and sweep the floor.”

For me it’s shoveling snow.  I used to hate shoveling snow.  The new Yoga me loves shoveling snow, is ecstatic shoveling snow.

I love the feel of bundling up and putting on my Norwegian ski cap.  I notice all the little details, like the snowflake pattern on the cap.  I love the bracing cold that hits my face as I step outside onto the driveway.  I love the feel of the shovel in my hands as I pick it off the rack in the garage.  I relish the Currier and Ives winter scene before me.

I enjoy the distinctive sound of the shovel as it scrapes across the pavement.  I love the way the snow parts on either side of the shovel.  I think about each individual snowflake and each individual atom making up each snowflake. 

I marvel at the complexity of the movements of my body as it effortlessly and unthinkingly walks and turns and bends and throws and lifts.  I feel the blood quickening through my arteries as it rushes to supply my muscles with fuel.

I feel the satisfaction of accomplishment as I clear more and more of the driveway.  I finally go to where the driveway meets the street and happily do the much harder work of lifting the thicker, wetter, icier snow that accumulates there. 

I love the powerful presence of the City snow truck as it plows by and dumps a foot of snow from the street back onto the end of my driveway — WAIT A MINUTE.  There are limits to this Yoga stuff.  I really don’t like that!

4 Responses to “Enlightenment in a Snow Shovel”

  1. Oh boy, you’ve described it well! I’m getting excited! My favorite part of lots of snow is that hush that happens – the way that sound is muffled, but light is elevated by all the reflection. I always loved snow shoveling – even as a child, it was a favorite shore, and I’ve missed it dearly since my back surgeries made it really bad idea!! I can hardly wait for tomorrow’s expected 12 inches or so :) The blizzard conditions, maybe not so much…

  2. Thanks, Karin. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Nice to hear that some people have enjoyed this from childhood and didn’t have to go through the Yogic transformation I did!

  3. I loved this, Bob. It seems strange that, as I am commenting in early April, there has been so much snow in various spots just this week. So people have had a real work-out throughout winter and spring…..would that they all could feel as you do about shoveling snow!

  4. Thanks, Lydia. There has been a lot of snow this year, although a couple of the biggest snowstorms missed Milwaukee as they slid past on the south, burying Chicago and moving on the East Coast.

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