“If you go slowly enough, six or seven months is an eternity—if you let it be—if you forget old things, and learn new ones. Even a week can last forever.”
Rick Bass, Winter

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
Albert Camus

How to Read this Blog

This blog is devoted to three topics, mostly--dogs, mortality (and attempts to cheat time), and meditation (for beginners like me).  It's a chronicle of my daily attempts to live more mindfully.  It's also about love and things I love, like travel and food.  I just returned six months ago from extended travels in France and India, and some of those stories will appear in this blog.  My dog spent seven months in France with my husband and me, and some of those stories appear here as well.

I'm writing "Winter with Zoe" because I've been made to answer an awful question: What would you do if you found out someone you love, a family member, might have only a year or less to live?  How would you want to spend that year?

And what if that loved one was a dog?

What would you do differently?  What new things would you want to learn?  And what activities would you cherish more than ever?

Dogs tie us to the present, to living mindfully.  They show us that what is right in front of us--river, blue heron, snow, fleeing squirrel--is a now you see it, now you don't affair.  Dogs remind us that all we have is now.

In other words, dogs are Zen masters, with tails.

This summer, after I returned home from travels and teaching in France and India, I was eager to remind myself again of the beauty of my community, the North Country of New York State.  Through daily meditation, writing in my journal, and now in this blog, I hope to savor every day I have with Zoe, my dog, and indeed, every day I have on this earth, period.  I'm not in any hurry to grow old.

As I develop this blog, I plan to label many of the posts by their themes so that people interested in one of these topics can look for postings specific to their interests.  For example, for readers who are obsessed with dogs, you can go to the ones where I focus mainly on Zoe.  Because Zoe is fighting cancer, and I also have friends who are either ill themselves or are dealing with a loved one's health crisis, I will also be writing about mortality and about finding new ways to think about time when it is all that more precious.

In this blog I am doing a second 108-day cycle of meditation and journal writing.   I explain that more fully in another page.  My third group of potential readers will either be people who are trying to bring meditation and journal-writing into their everyday lives, or people who have taken on their own 108-day challenges--to bring a daily practice into their lives for 108 days straight, and record the changes, both subtle and deep, this new practice brings.

I invite readers to share their stories and to say why they are reading this blog (if they wish to).