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Enveloped in low clouds, the vivid yellow of my jacket is a jolt of color disturbing the surrounding landscape of white and diffused gradations of gray.    Eight inches of new year snow coats every surface once baked by the August sun.  The frigid air captures my exhaled breath and freezes the vapor into crystals in front of my face, where it mingles with the falling flurries.  Acrid scent of woodsmoke rises from a chimney nearby and lingers overhead.  The snowscape muffles and dulls sounds, so the screech of shovel scraping against cement sidewalk beneath my boots, assaults my ears.  Inside my gloves, my fingertips sting from the seeping cold and I pause.  I unfold to stand upright, a dull ache punishing low in my back, and open and close my hands, encouraging circulation. 

I am not built for this kind of cold. 

And yet…

my senses reward me with powerful awareness that this mortal body is fully alive,

and gratitude warms me.