Around here we are heading into what they call in Japan “the big cold” (daikan). All of a sudden it is very very cold. The air is dry and crisp. The puddles are frozen into tiny skating rinks. People are bundled up and hurrying when they are outside. This is an ironic time of year. In some ways, we are bundled up into ourselves, and in some ways we are bundled up together. Just like in the rest of life. There is a comaraderie in the cold as we stamp our feet and comment to each other, “It sure is cold!” We hurry into the stores or the house or the train station and stand close together trying to stay warm. We know it will be March at best before it lets up.
We can manage the weather by adding layers of clothing and turning up the heat. And we manage ourselves by sharing our experience. We establish that connection by looking for commonalities, like braving the weather, and then, as we build relationships, sharing differences. We start with a shared reality and then as we build a connection, we show more and more of who we are. Sometimes it is the small connections that are so reassuring. It is a welcoming world. It’s nature, it’s community, and it’s constructive. What could be better?