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23 in 2023

A friend of mine told me that she has an intention to be outdoors for at least 23 minutes every day in 2023. What a lovely aspiration! It is way too easy for me to hole up inside where it is warm – even in California! – in the winter. How hard it is to convince myself to “endure” even the mildest bit of discomfort. The Buddhists talk about how we are mostly on a constant path of seeking something different than what is. Even sitting in our easy chair, we shift our weight, cross and uncross our legs – all in a more or less constant attempt to be comfortable. There is nothing wrong with seeking comfort, but there is value in also learning to accept, abide, “endure” mild discomfort. It is good practice for the times when we absolutely must abide discomfort. The constant pursuit of something different from what is, is a habit I am trying to look at.

I also heard of another friend who spends a few minutes outdoors each night at sunset. She quietly observes the sunset and reminds herself each evening that “time is passing”. Of course it is, but we so often forget to notice! I love the moments of sunset – it’s usually quiet outdoors as the world settles in for the night. It’s a lovely thing to notice.

So, I am going to attempt to observe both of these habits by combining them. My plan will be to sit outdoors each evening at sunset and enjoy the truth of whatever temperature or weather condition is present. (though I will be sitting under the roof of our balcony!) I love to listen to a quiet piece of music as the sun sets. I have been good about doing that in the summer, but it never occurred to me to do it in winter too. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Here is a poem I wrote last summer about twilight. I will attempt to enjoy it this way in winter too!!


I love dusk…

how the evening takes the hand

of afternoon and they saunter,

watching the fireflies along the side of the road –

How they listen for the quieting of the birds,

the waking of the cicadas.

How the stars begin their slow appearance,

though, of course, they’ve been there all along.

Day and night hand in hand

walking toward the horizon…

How day softens her grip

and slips off toward tomorrow,

darkness waving until she is out of sight.

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