Today I took it easy.  After a very busy week, I needed a day to unwind and regroup.  This is for a number of reasons.  For one, I don’t do well with these intense sessions of business.  I suffer from chronically malfunctioning adrenal glands and if I push myself even a little too much the condition flares up again and I crash.  It really, really sucks and I need to be careful.  I have been feeing pretty good of late, which is why I have been doing so much, and of course I’m paying the price again.  You’d think I’d learn by now.

The other reason I needed to take a step back from life is that I have some serious rethinking to do about my dissertation.  That is a whole other discussion, but the bottom line is that I need to relax to be open to signs about what I should do.  What I need to do will become clear – or perhaps it already is and what I need is the strength to do it.  Either way, I need to hibernate a little right now and figure things out.  

This morning I did receive a sign – a very clear and powerful one.  Here’s what I awoke to:

It snowed a bit last night, but I figured it would be all gone by this morning.  After all, they hadn’t been calling for snow of any significance.  But we didn’t just get snow, we got an actual storm.  Look what happened to the tree beside my house (note Hannah watching me through the window):

 

So how is this a sign?  Well, for one, unexpected storms happen, like what just happened to derail my research.  But even though they can be violent and disruptive (we lost power for a while, not that I noticed as I slept through it all, kept warm by my animals)…

 

…the tree fell on my neighbour’s car, not mine, which was parked just a few feet to the right here.  So from this I can interpret that I am being protected; everything is going to be all right.

But the snow has a deeper significance for me.  One that I am a little hesitant to share, as I’ve never spoken of it to anyone before.  Nearly 6 years ago, in deep winter, I was faced with the horrible decision of putting Jake to sleep.  It was one that I struggled with for months – when was the right time?  Jake would have bad days, then rally and recover.  Eventually, the bad days started outnumbering the good ones, and I knew I had to make the decision soon.  One night Jake lost the ability to stand while trying to pee, and we both ended up sprawled face first on the ice at 3am in -20 weather.  I thought, as we lay there, ‘it’s time to say goodbye old friend.’

When I got up the next morning, however, Jake was doing much better.  He ate breakfast and walked on his own legs outside to pee.  I was so torn.  I stood there on the front lawn, watching my beloved friend wobble around in the lightly falling snow.  Then something unusual happened: the sun came out.  It was snowing steadily, yet the sun was shining at the same time.  Light and dark, life and death.  Suddenly it became clear to me that this was a good day to die.  I actually heard a voice say that in my head, a thought I’d never had before.  I didn’t know there could be good days to die until that moment.  And then I knew everything would be ok.  With death comes birth, the old departs to make way for the new.  Jake had done all he could for me in this life, but that didn’t mean that our journey together was over.

I have only seen it snow with the sun shining two or three times since that fateful day, when I said goodbye to my very best friend.  Today was one of those days.  I took the dogs for a great long hike this morning, and on our way back, the sun came out and it started to snow.  Something in my life needs to die, needs to end, in order to make space for the new.  And everything is going to be ok.  I know that now.  Thank you, Jake.

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