December 9th, 2010 —two days beyond Pearl Harbor day, the last day of Chanukah, and just three weeks before the New Year. The fields of southwest Idaho are shrouded in rice-pudding inversion-fog and shepherds have brought their sheep down from the hills, reminding us that Christmas is a-comin’. Most folk refer to this as winter, with the cold, snow, and blustery winds, but winter begins on the solstice, the shortest day twelve days hence.
Late autumn is a reminder that, according to Chinese tradition, the purpose of this bleak and austere season is purification: getting rid of the old, stale, and excess and taking in what is fresh and pure. This applies to thoughts, beliefs and emotions as well as physical objects.