Funny how you can break a sweat even when temperatures are below freezing.
Here in New Mexico, unlike in many parts of the USA, the sun really is a daily companion. About 300 days of each year, the sun shines brightly and the skies are frequently a startling blue, but, it can be deceptive. We do have bitter temperatures and lots of snow.
This morning I noted that the snow has finally disappeared from the primitive labyrinth that graces the property where we house-sit. I slog through the mud and look at the inspired words carved in some of the stone. Zia follows along, sniffing, as dogs do.
I decided to walk the labyrinth. I walk slowly. Zia sits watching as I walked deep in thought, along the narrow, stone-lined paths. She cocks her head in that puzzled way dogs do. She adjusts her wieght and settles in to observe.
In the center of the labyrinth, I stop. My patient pup joins me and quietly sits down at my side to watch me.
I gaze up at the snow-topped mountains and the spare beautiful scenery of the high desert. I consciously breathe in the sweet scent of pinon pine. Birdsong filters down from the sky. The water trickling over the rocks in the nearby koi pond sounds like music. I stand still, enjoying this small gift of time and beauty and joy.
I am grateful for this unexpected start to a day. My head is cleared of all the worries and mortal concerns. Zia's tail wags.
I stay in the moment, feeling my feelings. I say a silent prayer of gratitude.
I am thankful for the unexpected life we have been blessed with these past few years. Our open hearts have been filled with so many delightful gifts and lessons and opportunities. This home, this work, these opportunities to use our talents and to grow - these are gifts that came as a surprise. I could not have outlined the way my life has unfolded in recent years.
Then I think of the manna that sustained those wanderers in the desert long ago. I think of the birds and trees who do not wonder what they will eat or what they will wear or how they will cope.
I think about pilgrimage and expectations and why people are so fearful. My mind is off and running. until I feel a warm, wet tongue lapping at my palm. I look down into the golden eyes of my sweet dog and I am immediately back in the moment. It is all so real. It is all so simple.
Today, soon, I must hang up my jeans and walking clothes, leave sweet Zia at home dreaming doggie dreams by the fireplace. I must don my business attire and go to the office where chaos and confusion dominate - and today, I must take time to find the blessings there that are there in that office and among the people who spend so much time there. I must take time to acknowledge the beauty and joy and gifts that so often go unnoticed there.
I eagerly anticipate the lessons of the camino, both the joys and the challenges. In less than 12 weeks I will begin my lessons on the road to Santiago.
I wish sweety-dog Miss Zia could go with me to be my coach as I navigate the camino.