Sometimes we live in our heads, or in our past, or are lost in a scripted narrative someone else has penned. But when each of us opens the door and the percussive wall of cold strikes the entire body, all of the accompanying orchestration of violin thoughts stops. There is only the skin taking the temperature.
The frozen patterns like faces press against the windows partially imprinted on the car. It isn’t until the extreme falls away after turning on the heater that I go back into the droning, circle patterned of flying thoughts.
Part of the pleasure of walking the icy sidewalk into the howling wind is the weather itself bringing me into the breathing moment. I hear my lungs at work. I see the air warming and steaming out of me. The cold is slapping me out of it. I am only this step, this foot, this warm boot, this creature moving on the ground.
And when I was in Peru and laid in the hammock, I ran sweat slipping my body surfaces like waterfalls on a sculptured hillside. The walk up the path would begin with the skittling thoughts but as I shoved myself against the moist, hot air I recognized that the trailing end of a narrative had melted and disappeared. With several more steps I would begin again but the line of thought dissolved even earlier on until I was released from any interest except my breath and the wall of opposition the tropics pushed against my progress. At times, I felt I was behind myself trying to catch up with the place my body had now moved into.
Extremes of weather hold some fundamental truth. There is only the body, the skin, the breath, the intention of movement and it leaves us free of the embroidered speculations in the mind. It stops us cold.