The long tail stretch of the Chicago winter hooks deep into the days of March and April that most folks know as Spring, and empties every last reserve of hope that the world might turn green again.
These days remind me of the teacup koan; of the emptying:
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"
"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"
Yes, Winter: We are empty now.
Please: May we have some Spring?