Back in 2015, we based a writing prompt on the poem “Shoveling Snow With Buddha” by Billy Collins. It’s snowing outside my window today and I was rereading that poem.
I like this Buddha being in a situation that’s a bit odd. This is not a seated and meditative Buddha. And I don’t think of Buddha in the snow – even though my garden Buddha is being covered with snow beside the St. Francis statue. They seem quite comfortable with each other. They don’t seem to mind the cold and snow. They really enjoy it when I sprinkle birdseed around them and the little birds hop in the snow to eat.
When I head outside today to shovel some snow, I’d like to think that I can take Buddha with me. He’s in my mind but he’s not in my mind. Shoveling snow can certainly be an exercise in mindfulness.
I know from the poem not to talk to him out there.
This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.
Why be quiet? Because:
He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence,
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.
Soon, outside to shovel snow with Buddha. And then, with my boots dripping by the door, some hot chocolate.