I took a walk in my neighborhood after it snowed a few nights ago. I walked just down my street and around my block, past the cathedral, where snow had settled into all the small ridges of the architecture, down past my old apartment and then back. A couple with a black cat came out the side door of my old apartment building. I thought of the black cat that I had when I lived there and of carrying her out that same side door for an emergency vet visit one cold night just before Christmas. I looked down the block and saw that a building I once visited had been torn down and a new building put up in its place. I had only been inside once but remembered it distinctly, its red door, its fireplace, its open staircase against a brick wall.

Apparently this is what happens when you mix Buddhist thought with a Protestant work ethic: All that time during my walk, I kept thinking, I should not be so lost in my own mind. I should be paying bare attention to what’s right in front of me.

I can turn anything into a job, even a walk in the snow.

So I will back up and say what is true in its barest, least shrouded form: I took a walk in the snow. I saw the cathedral, a black cat, the absence of a red door.