I am on a train bound for New York, headed slowly home, as thick snow falls outside, covering the tracks and everything in its sight in a cold, thick, fluffy blanket. This first weather system is the beginning, for better or worse, of a new season. Late autumn and winter are not times for extremes or extension, but rather, periods for reflection. The snow, which muffles noise and tells new life to wait to grow again, asks us to rest as nature does, draw energy toward our center, and become quieter.
The first snow of the season usually converges with the beginning of the holiday season in the United States. A time for celebrating that which we treasure the most. So at this intersection of introspection and praise, we learn again to identify what we cherish, wrap it close to our hearts, and gather together with others in celebration of the good.
Ahead of this season of anticipation, of joy, and of rest, I want to offer this poem as a message of hope, a message that reminds us who we would like to become together, as we work for the joy, flourishing, and safety of all people. As we rest, we integrate. And as we turn our attention to our loved ones, we become more compassionate. Enjoy the snow. Rest when you need. And allow the love you grow within yourself over the next few weeks to overflow.
The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”