I sit in a room with my legs crossed and my hands on my knees. I’m focused on my breath, trying hard to ignore my racing thoughts. The music is relaxing and the yoga teacher is the only one who is speaking. Her presence is calming and trusting. I feel safe. I’m trying to get my mind to feel the same. Halfway through the class, my thoughts halt. I’m left with a quiet mind. It’s a very rare experience for me. After yoga, my mind remains quiet. Everything that captured my attention before class quickly washes away. My mind isn’t rushing or holding onto burdening thoughts. I’m present, I’m relaxed, I’m quiet. I don’t speak. I sit on my bed with a heating pad on my shoulder, taking refugee in these rare moments of solace within myself.
It’s clear to me that seasons no longer exist. They only exist as dates on a calendar, marking the passage of time. The rest has faded away to a time and place the planet no longer knows. We’ve had at least five major snow storms in the last two months. It’s autumn, where leaves are supposed to be falling. Normally, snow begins around the middle of November. But this year, expectations for normalcy have disappeared. We’re left with feet of snow as colored leaves dangle from frozen trees.
I watch the snowfall for a third time this month.
I can't remember the last time it snowed
three times before Halloween.
But here I am, watching it float down once more.
It stopped snowing in late May,
only to return in early October.
Is this just a weird year?
The new normal?
A sign of how climate change has impacted the weather?
All of the above?
Winter over stayed it's welcome,
and arrived just as the leaves were turning colorful.
While I appreciate the snow
when it doesn't stick to the roads,
I'll be curious to know
how these shifts will impact future generations.
I have found comfort in my breath. Inhaling and exhaling are often done without thought. The body knows how to breathe without the mind getting involved. But there is something about getting my mind involved with my breathing that has helped calm my thoughts and body. Learning how to belly breathe can change the body’s way of pushing air in and out of the lungs. Whenever I need to settle my overactive thoughts, I will belly breathe until I feel my thoughts settle. I used to cope with these thoughts by avoiding them entirely. I’d distract my mind with useless thoughts to push out the overwhelming ones. Now I’m working with them by learning how to calm them down. Filling my stomach up with air through my nose and releasing it slowing out of my mouth.
A single sound shoots through the summer night. It’s loud and fast and gone before I can comprehend what is happening. There are no rippling sounds that fade into the darkness. No colors flying across the sky. No screams for help. As I’m writing this on a Sunday afternoon, I’ve only heard this sound twice, at different times the last two nights. My only response to hearing such a jarring noise is looking out the window, texting a friend who is sleeping in the room across from mine, and locking the door. I don’t have time to be concerned about what I do not know. My mind is too busy to be distracted by external worries at this present moment.