Grace and Peace to you.
Perfect snow piles up on the branches,
perches on every post and wire,
puts big hats on everything.
The morning sun stands like a wizard
behind the big tree at the end of the driveway,
making little sparkles of light fall from it.
Gold and silver, amber, with a touch of blue.
I need to shovel the driveway before the snow
gets heavy, before we need to drive out.
I grab the shovel, and as I pass Buddha,
sitting on his little bench in the garden
by the corner of the garage, smiling,
he says, “I’ll help you, if you help me first.”
I look at the driveway, five inches deep and
a hundred and fifty feet long. Buddha is
a nice guy, but he’s made of cement
and is not likely to handle a shovel real well.
I look at him, his serene smile, his hands
resting on his knees like he’s got all the time
in the world. I say, “OK.”
So I stand there with him and stare at the tree,
the light falling from it into the driveway,
the magic sparkles leaping off of everything,
white and silver and gold, transfiguring the air,
for a long time, until he is good and satisfied,
a long, quiet time beneath the passing sky.
Then we get to the driveway: even and patient,
stooping and throwing in a sublime rhythm,
scraaape and shuffle, scraaape and shuffle,
a rhythm from the old monastery, the temple drums,
the rhythm of presence, attentive rhythm,
content with our labor, heaving light into the air.
Short and stubby as he is, he’s amazing with a shovel.
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