A Meditation for the First Day of Winter from Peter Mayer

Snowflake Sculpture 2. Photo by Julie Falk

A Meditation for the First Day of Winter

My Soul
by Peter Mayer

There are a hundred billion snowflakes swirling in the cosmic storm
And each one is a galaxy, a billion stars or more
And each star is a million earths, a giant fiery sun
High up in the sky, maybe shining on someone

And deep inside a snowflake, I am floating quietly
I am infinitesimal, impossible to see
Sitting in my tiny kitchen, in my tiny home
Staring out my window at a universe of snow

But my soul is so much bigger than the very tiny me
It reaches out into the snowstorm like a net into the sea
Out to all the lovely places where my body cannot go
I touch that beauty and embrace it in the bosom of my soul

And so brief and fleeting is this tiny life of mine
Like a single quarter note in the march of time
But my soul is like the music, it goes back to ancient days
Back before it wore a human face, long before it bore my name

Because my soul is so much older than the evanescent me
It can describe the dawn of time like a childhood memory
It is a spark that was begotten of the darkness long ago
What my body has forgotten I remember in my soul

So we live this life together, my giant soul and tiny me
One resembling forever, one like smoke upon the breeze
One the deep abiding ocean, one a sudden flashing wave
And counting galaxies like snowflakes, I would swear we were the same

Oh my soul belongs to beauty, takes me up to lofty heights
Teaches sacred stories to me, sanctifies my tiny life
Lays a bridge across the ages, melts the boundaries of my bones
Paints a bold eternal face on this passing moment — oh my soul!

• • •

Photo by Julie Falk at Flickr. Creative Commons License

14 thoughts on “A Meditation for the First Day of Winter from Peter Mayer

  1. Hello Robert F,
    I think about the old people with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia that has robbed them of communication skills, and how if you play music for them, the old favorite hymns, that they respond and can sometimes sing along.

    The Scriptures tells us that if we cannot pray, the Holy Spirit prays for us:
    ” . . . the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words ” (Romans 8:26)

    Something about music helps memory and enables a person with dementia to ‘come alive’ for a while and maybe it’s just the proximity of the areas of the brain that process music and emotions;
    but I like to think it has something to do with the grace of God . . . just for a few minutes, the person is himself or herself again and the old hymn is heard and sung once more . . . . . I can’t imagine a better example of God’s loving kindness to an elderly patient and his family that for this to be experienced and witnessed, to know that what was most precious remains and was not lost


  2. One might also rightly say: What my soul has forgotten I remember in my body. It depends on how one approaches and looks at it.


  3. ” . . . WHAT MY BODY HAS FORGOTTEN I REMEMBER IN MY SOUL . . . ” (Peter Mayer)

    there are signs of an almost a universal awareness of ‘the sublime’
    . . . . . but the language needed to express that awareness is often limited to philosophers, poets, novelists, saints, simple souls, and to those who live in harmony with nature,
    and also with small children who, by the grace of God, so often understand that which we, who are more learned, cannot fathom.

    ” ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’”
    (St. Paul . . . Acts 17)

    “. . . And I have felt
    A Presence that disturbs me with the joy
    Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
    Of something far more deeply interfused,
    Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
    And the round ocean and the living air,
    And the blue sky, and in the mind of man . . ”
    (Wm Wordsworth)

    “”The sky was clear – remarkably clear – and the twinkling of all the stars seemed to be but throbs of one body, timed by a common pulse.” (Thomas Hardy)

    ( Chief Seattle)

    and even from the unborn,
    there may come also evidence of the ‘awareness’ of the Presence of God:

    “43And why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For as soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” (the Holy Gospel of St. Luke, chapter 1)


  4. “In classical Christian theology, the dignity meaning of our existence as human beings is so very much bigger than “going to Heaven after you die” or “bringing glory to God.””

    Good point, Dana . . . a beautiful comment!

    And this is something that can only be celebrated in humility and in thankfulness.


  5. Mayer’s lyrics reflect some of how St Maximos the Confessor described the place of Man in the cosmos as the Image of God. The whole cosmos can be found in a human being, who is a “micros kosmos”. At the same time, the cosmos can be viewed as a sort of “enlarged” human, something that can be comprehended in a like manner as a human being. The whole cosmos depends on mankind, for Man was created, as a being comprised of both soul and body, to unite the dualities of the cosmos and present all of creation, fully realized, to the Creator in worship.

    I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.
    For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God;
    for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it,
    in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay (that is, death and dissolution)
    and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (creation is not free until we humans become glorified)
    We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now;
    and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit,
    groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. (the Resurrection of all)
    For in hope we were saved.
    Romans 8.18-24a

    In classical Christian theology, the dignity meaning of our existence as human beings is so very much bigger than “going to Heaven after you die” or “bringing glory to God.”



  6. I’m in Philly for the week. If I recall correctly, we are under the same weather system. Wow. Continuous rain and big wind last night. Steady rain now.


  7. There is a book, The Force of Character: And the Lasting Life, by James Hillman that I am reminded of. It is about the development and growth of the soul in old age. Our soul is indeed finding itself again from whence it was breathed. I strongly recommend that book to any of the old foagies around here who may be looking for more meaning and less depression with the aging process. There is tremendous meaning there.


  8. we’ve already had a frost or two, but no flakes have been seen . . . and this morning, I cooled the house down with the air conditioner for an hour to get rid of the moisture and dampness . . . . strange times, yes


  9. Peter has long been my favorite artist, once described as “the best musician you never heard of!” Thanks, CM, for acknowledging him. Another of his songs, The Longest Night, here, that especially applies to this night:


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