Campus Voices

“Winter Blahs? Winter Ahhs!”

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There is a very small room, about 7 x 9 feet in size, off the kitchen. The room is positioned to catch the morning and evening sun, and so is bathed in light almost all day. This is where I begin my day. On a winter day, when it is still dark, I take nourishment there, both spiritual and nutritional. Today, I arrive before the sun. I can tell it is cold outside. Probably there’s frost. But it’s too dark to say.

Books of inspiration and devotion are on the small table. The newest additions to the group are Arctic Circle and Mother Teresa: Her Essential Wisdom. Bird-watching binoculars are on top of the stack. A Tibetan singing bell provides my answer to bird calls. As the sun begins to appear, shining first on my uphill neighbors, who were our friends before we moved here, it brightens my cozy surroundings.

In the corner, the first to receive the light is a small basil plant pulled from last summer’s garden. In a while, I will, as usual, pick two leaves and add them to my bottled water. They will provide reminders during the day of the morning stillness from which they came and they offer promise of the garden to come.

Next to the basil is a small flowering plant given to me by a friend. I’m not familiar with the plant and refer to it by the name of my friend. In the middle of the fading darkness is a bright pink germanium, a fall cast-off pulled from a friend’s trash pile. Such throwaways are a winter delight. Also sprouting are small tomato seedlings. These fragile-looking starts will become robust providers for my summer harvest. Other plants include a cutting from boxwood shrubs that will become part of a new garden I am planning.

Outside, the sun now illuminates the fields, whose soft rose-colored curves contrast with the cool blue shadows cast by the houses. I am painting the image in my mind as I finish my breakfast. The simple white table cloth on the table is a $2 purchase from an Italian flea market and a reminder of our frequent trips to Italy.

The sun shines strongly now and reminds me that there are things to do. I will go gladdened by so much simple beauty. My day has been enriched by this small moment and by the memories it has triggered. Joyfully I leave my small sanctuary and carry its spirit in my heart.