Bossa Nova Snowfall: Everyday Rhythms of Practice January 28, 2022 15:27

Maya watching snow falling through storm door in winter 

 If you prefer to listen to this month's blog post, please click here for the link.

I have "Waters of March" rolling around in my head (the Portuguese version). A friend of mine recently shared a Dust to Digital video of the duet with the composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Elis Regina singing it in a studio in 1974.

I remember hearing this song as a kid, but I didn't think about the lyrics that much, mainly because I don't speak Portuguese. I remember my stepdad had a collection of jazz albums in the stereo console that he kept in the living room. This song was included in an album called Bossa Nova's Greatest Hits.

"Waters of March" is a happy melody, and now that we are lucky enough to have access to Google, I was able to search for the lyrics in English. It reads like a beautiful list poem, and the rhythms flow, like water from beginning to end:

A stick, a stone, it's the end of the road
It's the rest of a stump, it's a little alone
It's a sliver of glass, it is life, it's the sun
It is night, it is death, it's a trap, it's a gun
The oak when it blooms, a fox in the brush
A knot in the wood, the song of a thrush
The wood of the wind, a cliff, a fall
A scratch, a lump, it is nothing at all
It's the wind blowing free, it's the end of the slope
It's a beam, it's a void, it's a hunch, it's a hope
And the river bank talks of the waters of March
It's the end of the strain, it's the joy in your heart
The foot, the ground, the flesh and the bone
The beat of the road, a slingshot's stone
A fish, a flash, a silvery glow
A fight, a bet, the flange of a bow
The bed of the well, the end of the line
The dismay in the face, it's a loss, it's a find
A spear, a spike, a point, a nail
A drip, a drop, the end of the tale
A truckload of bricks in the soft morning light
The sound of a gun in the dead of the night
A mile, a must, a thrust, a bump,
It's a girl, it's a rhyme, it's a cold, it's the mumps
The plan of the house, the body in bed
And the car that got stuck, it's the mud, it's the mud
A float, a drift, a flight, a wing
A hawk, a quail, the promise of spring
And the river bank talks of the waters of March
It's the promise of life, it's the joy in your heart
A snake, a stick, it is John, it is Joe
It's a thorn on your hand and a cut in your toe
A point, a grain, a bee, a bite
A blink, a buzzard, a sudden stroke of night
A pin, a needle, a sting, a pain
A snail, a riddle, a wasp or a stain
A pass in the mountains, a horse and a mule
In the distance the shelves rode three shadows of blue
And the river bank talks of the waters of March
It's the promise of life in your heart, in your heart
A stick, a stone, the end of the road
The rest of a stump, a lonesome road
A sliver of glass, a life, the sun
A knife, a death, the end of the run
And the river bank talks of the waters of March
It's the end of all strain, it's the joy in your heart
Songwriters: Antonio Carlos Jobim / Jorge Calandrelli
Águas De Março lyrics © Corcovado Music Corp.

(if you're curious, listen to the recording in Portuguese here

In essence, it's a song about appreciating the present moment, no matter what's going on around you. It's about the ordinary, mundane images of daily life, and the inevitable journey towards death, just as the rains of March mark the end of a Brazilian summer.


This morning, Maya and I were sitting in front of the storm door watching snow fall.

It's a light, fluffy snow that collects on branches, sticks on the bricks of the walkway in loose, fat flakes.

It had already covered the morning offerings of birdseed and coated the face of our resin Buddha statue.

Cardinals, juncos, chickadees, and wrens hop and flit about. Their wings flutter, bodies in flight--and at rest.

The deliberate staccato rhythms of a pileated woodpecker echo from a nearby oak tree.

 I can hear the ticking of ductwork expanding and contracting with steady heat rising from the vent in the floor. It competes with the cold pressing against the glass door.

We moved to the living room a few minutes later. Maya is snoring on my lap, and Zora is perched on the back of the love seat. She has a close-up view of the falling snow from the French doors behind it.

Bare branches, light wind, swirling spiral patterns on sage green pillows.

The hum of the furnace, the ringing in my ears, the stiffness in my shoulder.

The soft touch of warm fur--orange and black--like those wooly caterpillars in late summer.

Silk lotus blossoms in a striped bowl, a silent grandmother clock.

Bare feet, cold floor, the rise and fall of soft bellies.

Snow flakes falling in straight lines.

Cream colored curtains, a plaid shirt, dried flecks of paint on navy sweat pants.

Abandoned spider silk between adjoining walls--temporary hypotenuse. 

Empty vase, copper bell, wooden elephants--share a dusty table with framed faces and photo albums.

The effortless acceptance of Now.


These observations don't rhyme, and they don't follow the unconventional cords, innovative syncopation, and jazzy rhythms of Bossa nova.

However, practice doesn't have to be formal. It doesn't even have to happen on a cushion, and it can occur at any moment.

Take a few moments today to notice what's happening around you, wherever you are. Without attachment, grasping, or commentary--just be present--observe, breathe, and be.

This, too, is practice.


I have added several malas and quarter malas to the online shop. Check out the current collection here. Middle Moon Malas serves to inspire meaningful practice and to support your motivation to lead a kind, compassionate, and mindful life.