The Gift of Winter

Snow in the Swiss Alps
When did snow become a drudgery?  I’m sitting in my classroom, grading papers, trying to let Pandora play music uninterruptedly and outside snow is gently falling.  It has been fluttering down for a few hours now and it looks peaceful.  Instead of an empty classroom, I should be in a cozy living room, warming my chilled fingers on a cup of hot chocolate, and watching the snow design an intricate blanket for the earth.  

This used to be a delight.  The arrival of snow was once something longed for, something wanted.  Now I seem to view it as a necessary evil, the consequence of living in a northern state, a sort of Purgatory on earth.  Yet only a few days ago I was able to witness first hand the disappointment of my 4 year old nephew when the snow melted.  He was debating other things and realized he was losing so he changed the subject.  Whining and with such a sad face that you would want to quickly give him whatever he desired, he told his mother that the snow wasn’t there anymore.  In his short lifetime he had only been through a couple winters and they still held a deep excitement for him.  It amazed me briefly.  I had begun to assume that everyone was as unimpressed and pessimistic about the snow as I was.  My nephew, though, was viewing snow through a gaze of wonder and awe.

When did snow become something I disliked instead of something I anticipated?  I always thought it was when I was required to help with outside chores and I realized that snow and slush make carrying 5 gallon pails of corn remarkably difficult.  I used to don snowpants, gloves, and a hat and go roll in the snow, make snowmen, and just relish in the cool air nipping at my nose.  Now I am more concerned in keeping my feet dry and how quickly I can dash from my car to the warmth of a building.  Much of the wonder of winter has been zapped from my life.  It is there, in brief glimpses of soft snow settling on window sills or the sunlight enhancing the sparkle of the icicles forming at the edge of the roof.  There is a cold sort of beauty that I like with winter, but the moments I rejoice in it are few or only when I am separated from the elements by a windshield or window.

That is my present goal–to embrace the beauty of winter and delight in it.  I plan to begin with putting my things in my car and then, perhaps for only a few seconds, tilting my head back and feeling the snowflakes kiss my face and melt at the brazenness of their touch.  Then I will drive (carefully) home and try to embrace the gift of winter.  Everything is a gift, right?  Today the Lord is offering me the chance to live and experience another winter day.  For all my aged and weary 23 year old bones know, this could be my last winter.

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