Peace, part 1 (the image)

I have an image that has stayed with me over time, a simple but transformative moment of awareness. I have never tried to give it words, but it filled my mind tonight, so I will attempt to bring it to life in this space.

There was something about the snow that night that reached beyond my eyes and into my spirit. Perfectly formed snowflakes fell in patterns, landing on the wool of my coat. Their coupling formed intricate, miniature sculptures as they touched down, connecting with each other in crystalline combinations. These tiny, fragile flakes could evaporate at my touch, or in the heat of my breath. They were marvelously ornate yet utterly transient, forming and disappearing in an instant. I examined each perfect, individual flake in awe, then noticed the wide expanse of snow-white fields stretching out before me, glinting like heaps of diamonds as they caught the light of the moon and stars. Endless colors of light danced across the drifts, reflecting the radiance from those celestial companions that also guided my path that December evening.

No one was stirring. The only sound was an easy wind blowing flakes gently into piles of shimmering diamond dust. It was clear, cold, and silent as far as my eyes could see. The only other sound I could hear was the occasional crunching of snowy ground beneath my feet.

I pulled my scarf tightly around me, and breathed in the cold night air. I was taking in the mystery, the vastness of the Universe spread out before me. I was noticing for the first time just how small and fragile I was in a Universe so large. There were infinite possibilities lying before me in this life, as wide as the fields of snow that surrounded me. But life, it seems, was as fragile as these tiny flakes melting on my hand. I felt warm tears against my icy cheeks. I didn’t want to wipe them away. I wanted to feel each tear, to join my human grief with the melting snowflakes finding their way back to something greater, something capable of turning each drop of moisture into crystalline elegance.

There were many moments lived before that moment, and many moments to be lived after. But that one perfect moment of peaceful stillness lives as fragile and elegant as a snowflake in my mind. It was a moment when pure love and pure grief stood together in perfect harmony, calling to me, drawing me near to the moments of human existence that are so beautiful and yet so fragile. I could feel the mystery around me, and I was drawn in. I still am.

I am sill discovering the quiet mysteries of that landscape, the ebb and flow of grief work across my career, the complexity and elegance of love and loss in my life. As I stand in this image of stillness that fills my mind, I become aware of the vastness of time and space around me, the perfect peace of being present and aware in that very moment, and the realization that I have never been, nor will I ever be, alone.


About harasprice

Professor of Social Work and Priest in The Episcopal Church, parent, teacher, learner, writer, advocate, and grateful traveller along this journey through life
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