"There is a melody born of melody, which melts the world into a sea."
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882

Looking out the window I could see the falling snow was thick and building into pure white mounds that blanketed the older, grayish snow banks. Stepping out from of my small dry cabin near Fairbanks, I took a hand-held microscope, the size of a large ballpoint pen, and started looking at individual flakes that had landed on the tailgate of my truck. The black paint provided good background for looking at the clear crystalline structures. With 100x magnification it got me so close that I could only see their centers, excluding their rays of ice shooting outwardly. Their robust shapes were intricately carved icons of winter's design. Moving the microscope around very carefully, I was able to see the legs of the crystals beaming out from their enchantingly icy cores. They were mystical structures, individually sculptured with obvious care from the depths of a cold cloudy sky. There really is a deep and creative intelligence in Nature, I felt.

I went back inside my cabin and continued to watch the snow falling heavily in the surrounding forest. It was piling up on the dirt road I needed to drive down to get to the highway. If it continued through the night, I would get stuck trying to leave for work in the morning, I thought. That means rising early enough to shovel my way out.

I grabbed a book of philosophy that I had been reading and sat down beneath a ceiling light in my small cabin. While reading a sudden weariness fell on me with the full weight of a night's darkness. As I sat feeling drowsy, an image entered my mind of a deer stuck in deep snow, struggling to free itself, exhausted from fighting the unrelenting earthly elements. Like in death, sleep becomes the ultimate reward for surrender, I felt.

I then got up and grabbed an empty cooking pot from the stove, walked outside scooping it full of freshly fallen snow. Once back inside I climbed the ladder to the loft, which I use as a bedroom. I put the snow filled pot on top of an electric heater. It will add needed moisture to the dry night air, I reflected.

Crawling under the blankets of my bed, I looked out the small window facing south. I could see a full moon drifting behind the bustling snow-clouds. Inside the cabin its light fell on the floor in the shape of a luminous rectangle. I watched it slowly drift eastward across the room. I turned on my side and fell asleep.

Later I awoke feeling a need to urinate. Slipping out of the cushioned cot I reached through the darkness for the chamber pot. But before I could grab it I noticed a strange glow coming from the snow filled kettle. Looking closer I saw a creaturely shaped body of light with gauze wings that looked like oversized snowflakes attached to it. The creature was the size of a child's hand and it grew smaller as it slowly slid downward into the bottom of the kettle. The bottom contained melt-water from the snow. I could tell by the expression on its infant face that it was giving way to feelings of fatigue. It had to let go of life and was now fading into the darkness of primordial water. I could see the emotion in its face as it vanished into oblivion. It seemed to look at me just before the end saying, "I have a path to follow." Startled by this sight, I jerked my eyes away and when I looked again it had disappeared and the kettle was as dark as before. Feeling puzzled and a little frightened I returned to my bed. "It was just a dream", I said to myself repeatedly until I fell asleep.

I woke up a couple of hours later and looking out the small window saw the snowfall had stopped. The full moon was still observing from behind the scattered clouds that were passing silently through the night. Knowing I had shoveling to do, with over a foot of snow outside, I quickly climbed down and put on a warm coat. Grabbing the snow shovel and stepping outside I started shoveling to clear a driveway for my truck. I thought of the snow being like tiny stars that fell from the never-ending sky, remembering how beautiful they looked the day before in my microscope. Still shoveling, I remembered the dream of a strangely winged infant. It was caused by fatigue, right? Or was it a vision, I thought?

Then I thought about all that I have left behind in my journey to Alaska: family, friends and community. I felt as alone as an old fence post and as weary as moose trudging through deep snow. The rawness of my existence felt like a bare hand grasping a frozen metal bar. I must open up from within the love that comes from spirit to find peace. To put forth prayerful palms into the winter sky and seek sanctuary in its over-arching heavens, for greatness of spirit comes from landscape. Wisdom is deeply embedded in this soulful universe. Like the strangely lit child in my dream we need to return to the dark waters that bath the starry heavens and unearth the revelations of its crystal caves. This is my vision, I believed, while staring out into winter.

Climbing into my truck to go to work I backed out of the newly shoveled driveway and drove quickly through the deep snow down to the main road, knowing that if I slowed too much I'd get stuck. Seeing the fresh foot of snow covering the forest I felt in my bones its coldness. Finally, I hit the ploughed highway and felt safe. Relax, I thought, while taking a calm breath. Stop stressing and let go of the grim grasping mind. Like the little dude in my dream, plunge prayerfully into a primordial nothingness. Let the love of Nature be a guiding light. Allow the vital intelligence of a snowy sky to craft your soul. With only the quiet contemplation of frosty breath, I drove down the road like a wind diving into winter while it cradles the freshly fallen snow.