At 7 AM, Jack and I stood at the window, tempted to wish each other a Merry Christmas as we watched the snow fall. And fall. And fall. And fall. Our car was completely invisible (unearthing it was fun, but exhausting). So, for that matter, is most of the garden. Where did it go?

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We’re both relieved. Jack for the familiarity of Colorado’s traditional March snows, especially in this year of alarmingly high temperatures. I, because the garden needs the moisture badly … though I feel a little betrayed: having been told by the weatherfellas that a storm was on its way tomorrow, I was prepared to get compost down on the few beds I’ve managed to turn over so they could have the benefit of the snow to help the nourishment seep into the soil. I also rather impulsively transplanted two lavenders and an agastache and hope they survive and even thrive on the watering they’re getting now.

I took a chance on thinning an absolutely enormous peony and moving the thinned chunks elsewhere in hopes that, like last year, when there were long rains, the transplants will take. Transplanting peonies is normally done in the fall, but it could be worth the gamble.

We turned from the window and to our delight, the Japanese iris were blooming in the gorgeous bouquet sent to us a few days ago by a gracious supper guest. What more exciting reminder of the glory to come?

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After breakfast, I settled into an armchair and, inspired by the gray skies, began reading notes I’d taken across a year of studying beauty and myth. I was especially struck by my scrawls from a book called Myth, Religion and Mother Right, by Johann Jakob Bachofen (1815-1845), a Swiss antiquarian, jurist, philologist, anthropologist, and professor of Roman law at the University of Basel.

Bachofen wrote: “Myth is a product of a cultural period in which life had not yet broken away from the harmony of nature. It shares with nature that unconscious lawfulness which is always lacking in free reflection. Everywhere there is system. Everywhere cohesion in every detail, the expression of a great fundamental law whose abundant manifestations demonstrate its truth and natural necessity.”

And “Without a thorough transformation of our whole being, without a return to ancient simplicity and health of soul, one cannot gain even the merest intimation of the greatness of those ancient times and their thinking, of those days when the human race had not yet, as it has today, departed from its harmony and the transcendent creator.”

Photo by Sheryl B. Shapiro, 2003

Photo by Sheryl B. Shapiro, 2003

A memory: It was March 18, 2003, sixteen years ago today, when I headed back to Afghanistan, my first visit since the 1970s, in a blizzard. My Lufthansa flight was the last one out but poor Jack was stuck at the airport, his later flight canceled. We were to meet in Frankfurt, visit friends and go on to Istanbul together, before he returned to the US and I went on to Kabul. I still deeply regret that missed connection. With friends in Frankfurt, as Jack shivered at home, I watched a broadcast of the dreadful U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In a few days, it will be Nawruz. New Day. The Spring Equinox. You can see it shining and sparkling, rising through the snow.

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