Like a winter wind, the little virus came for a week and bored into my bones. My flesh grew hot; my innards seemed to forget who they were. Trying, over and over, to surrender with respect to this uninvited guest, I proved a recalcitrant host. To those students of life, able to accommodate, Rumi-like with gladness, to a brash and demanding intruder, I bow. To those devotes of the Buddha, able to receive with equanimity the ministrations of a silent and slippery interloper, I humbly ask for your teachings.

Hollowed by the recent visit, still struggling to see beyond my hungry fears and lean energies, I am stripped. “Let something new arise,” I tell myself, but my mind keeps plodding, looking for a map to the familiar. “I don’t feel like myself. When will I get my energy back?” I whimper.

Today, when the light was diffused behind gray-white clouds, I looked to the tree for comfort. What I see is white on white—no shadow, no brilliant brush stroke of sun to enliven and illuminate. And, then, I spy the dots and lines—dots that dangle and punctuate and lines that explode in every direction, at every imaginable angle.

It’s enough, for today, this wizard’s map in the winter sky.