It's amazing how the different kinds of cold feel before the sun rises.
For instance, this morning's 7 degrees feels slightly out-of-focus compared to 24-hours ago when the same temperature -- coupled with a moderate breeze -- created a sense of crisp clarity (in addition to feelings of imminent frostbite).
Today's cold is also feels a bit stale (if any part of a new day can be "stale") and even the birds waiting patiently for me to bring out the jug of feed and bag of shelled peanuts seem to have less energy.
True, they swoop down to begin their breakfast the moment I turn the corner of the house, but they don't have the usual frantic bob-and-weave while sorting through to the pieces of food that interest them most.
Maybe my perception will change if/when the sun arrives. Like the old Blue Bonnet margarine commercial ("everything tastes better with Blue Bonnet on it") every part of my being/ existence feels better with the sun shining brightly.
Fortunately my mood this morning is not aligned with the air quality or presence of the sun.
This is a Thursday and noted Vietnamese monk Thick Nhat Hahn (Thay, as he is known to his students) is computer-live at 3 AM with his dharma talk streamed from Plum Village, France.
After watching and listening for only a few moments, I relax and merge with the mystery and power of my in- and out-breath.
I become conscious of the miracle of being alive and grateful for this life-force in me and you and the rest of the "you's" I've never met. And yes, that includes the animals, plants, and minerals I co-exist with on this planet.
I am discovering that we all are one, no matter what shade of cold Mother Nature provides. And that thought brings a quiet smile to my heart.
At least this is how it feels this Thursday morning on the 24th day of January in my neck of the Central Jersey woods. What's it like where you are?
Judy Shepps Battle is a New Jersey resident, addictions specialist, consultant and freelance writer. Her weekly column "It Takes a Village" appeared in the South Brunswick Patch for a year. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com. Additional information on this and other topics can be found at her website at http://www.writeaction.com/.
Copyright 2013 Judy Shepps Battle