By Jeffrey Johnson
It is still and dark. I am plowing snow. My child awakens.
The crescent moon is just rising over the horizon in the east. Just a sliver of moon is showing brightly. But almost like an eclipse, I can see just a shadow of the whole of the moon with the sun following close behind but below the horizon. It is earthlight that illuminates the moon. The sun shining on earth to the east, back onto the dark side of the moon and back again to me.
It’s a clear morning after a light snow, cleaning up the parking lots at the Arboretum.
The fresh snow crystals reflect light like a carpet of diamonds.
Sky has continued to get brighter and brighter. It exudes yellows and light blues, pinks, apricots, oranges and purples as the earth turns toward another daybreak. All the different colors of a clear winter sky in the morning.
And a hint of hoar frost. Crystals starting to form on twigs, sublimating from water vapor to solid.
The silhouettes of trees cut against a kindling sky.
And the morning goes on.
Such a mundane job, plowing snow. Back and forth I guide the truck. Up and down, I instruct the plow blade. Forward and reverse, I shift the transmission. But, it is in its own way beautiful! It takes me to be intentional, to open my eyes to that around me with a sense of wonder and awe. All it takes, and yet I too often forget to admire.
I think it is the intentionality I lack most of the time. If I am intentional, I open my eyes, my ears, my soul to the loveliness. Intentional, deliberate, planned, willful are synonyms of the concept of making time to strategically be in the moment. I cannot be constantly intentional. It does not work. I can pause, reflect, admire and appreciate all that is in that instant. I can hold onto that memory of the moment through mundane events.
It is light now. I head toward the back shop area to park the truck. The hoar frost has dissipated. I admire the structure and form of the trees in the collections, each a unique individual. A distinct, intentional moment, to awaken my inner child.
Jeffrey Johnson is a landscape gardener at the Minnesotoa Landscape Arboetum, trees and shrubs specialist.