This morning as I was walking home from synagogue on a lengthy two mile trek, I decided I would utilize this time for some good old fashion Danny Time. A great rabbi mentor of mine often spoke about how we live in a world where we are scared to be left to ourselves, constantly flanked with our Beats by Dre or Monster DNA headphones as the case may be, scared of silence, preferring to go to clubs where they blast "house music"which to my untrained ears simply sounds like a drunk dude banging on some dirty pots and pans. As I was walking up the street, I literally stopped in my tracks, much like a little deer cub named Bambi would stop in her tracks at the sight of a red Ford pickup truck speeding quickly towards her on an empty highway somewhere in Montana, as one single, elegant snow flake danced down from heaven, and landed on my trendy Macy's jacket I purchased five years ago in a mall in SoCon (Southern Connecticut). I looked, and literally stopped walking, despite it being freezing, and awkwardly admired the single snow flake that fell on my black coat. It looked like a hexagon from 11th grade geometry class on Barry Bonds' steroids, decorated to perfection with little flowers and branches on each prong of the hexagon. My mouth literally dropped open in sheer admiration at this single snowflake, basking in G-d's brilliance. At first I thought this snow flake was possibly an aberration or some sort of fluke, or thread stitched into my jacket, but as the snow kept magically descending, I literally stopped to admire it in the middle of the street another five times, and each time, the snow flakes were as perfectly symmetrical as the time before. I was immediately reminded of the Rambam's (Maimonides) timeless words when he wrote, "How does one come to love and be in awe of G-d? By contemplating His wondrous actions and creations, and discerns in them His brilliance which has no end, immediately he will love and praise...and desire tremendously to know His Great Name." By contemplating G-ds creations in nature, in the form of this pristine, perfect snow flake, I felt like I had attained a closeness to Him that rivals the feeling of closeness and connection I felt to G-d on Yom Kippur, or while I was praying at the holy Western Wall.
This transformative and powerful experience reminded me of a very powerful lesson. The truth is, being from the great Rocky Mountain State, and then moving to the East Coast, I have seen my fair share of snow. I probably have experienced hundreds of snowy days in my years. And yet, I don't think I ever once stopped to acknowledge its beauty and how wondrous of a creation that G-d had made. Usually I complain about how it complicates our lives, messes up the roads or makes my socks wet and smelly; but I never had noticed its sheer purity, beauty, and immense detail. Once I did notice it though, it totally transformed my perspective, my mood and my overall well being. And I ask myself, how many other things are there in the world that I simply have never bothered to notice? How many other wondrous creations did the Almighty gift wrap for me to enjoy that I simply ignored? It is incumbent upon us all to look in the mirror honstly and ask one simple question: Have we ever looked at a snowflake?