After more than a week of living under a blanket of ice and snow, we can finally see the ground. The thaw has been been slow, and, for our area, that is unusual. Snow is not uncommon, but normally it melts within a day or so, and little is left to remind us of its presence. This frozen precipitation hung around for a while.
Amazingly, the longevity of the snow revealed an otherwise unseen world. Within just a few days, I noticed sets of animal tracks all over town. Day after day, new trails were added. It was like a great dusting for prints, revealing activity that no human was there to witness. The great, daily shuffle of the world, imprinted temporarily in the soft white powder blanketing the ground.
As I surveyed the tracks and each trajectory that some animal… a raccoon, a cat, a dog, an opossum, or whatever… left on its journey, I felt mighty small. A vast array of living activity, both animal and human, occurs around me and around the world every day. And even as I sit in my warm, cozy living room, life around the world continues to turn, even crossing my own front lawn.
It was a healthy reminder that I am not the center of universe. This fact I already know, yet it is not often part of my mindset. It is easy to be self-centered and self-absorbed as if nothing else in the world matters unless it is related to one's own interests.
In the end, this is not about opossums in the snow. It is about the people around me and beyond. This is about those whose paths intersect my life everyday whom I hardly even acknowledge. This is about the family and friends I take for granted, even though they leave traces of love on my landscape every single day. This is about the stranger who comes into view and I hold in disdain because he or she is rude or irritable or careless. Their path has crossed mine, but I don't always see where they have been and what difficult terrain they have traversed to get to where they are at the moment.
Ultimately, there is much outside of myself that goes unacknowledged. And, in my finite state, I make too many judgements that I have no right to.
I need to oft remember the tracks in the snow; those reminders that I am a part of life, not the center of it.