I can’t sleep again tonight. The wind was rushing and whooshing when we went to bed. I kept thinking there was an animal in the trees, jumping from branch to branch, the way they kept swaying crazily. I think it blew all night. I woke up…or I could say, my 3 year old woke me up, at 2am. She likes to physically assure us of her life’s presence and importance at 2 or 3 every morning. She usually hops into bed, snuggles between us and is peaceful and beautiful for about an hour. After an hour she usually starts to get hot and then restless. She kicks the covers off of her legs and because she is in the middle of the bed, she kicks the covers off us too. So we are left on the outside fringes trying to pull up a corner of the duvet to cover our shoulders while she very efficiently makes sure no covers are anywhere near her. Then she twists and pivots and generally kicks one of us in the neck while using the other one as a lumpy pillow. Every night.
So, yes, as I was saying, I couldn’t sleep tonight. I lay there for awhile and then finally just got up. I made some coffee, compulsively checked all my inboxes and likes, and then looked out the window.
The wind is still going this morning but in the last 15 minutes, the snow has started to fall. I look forward to this time every year. It’s a palpable slowing down, quieting down. When the snow falls and its white and silent, I can relax. I don’t feel quite so frantic. Most of us would acknowledge that there is something about snow that’s magical (between November and early March. Before or after that, its not magical, its mean). Like, remember when Lorelai made Max Medina go for a walk in the snow? Or the time Lorelai was having a fight with snow and Luke came around and made her a skating rink? Yah…..me too.
There is something about this yearly coming into Winter that reassures us.
It is a hard season, though. It is harder to move around in winter. It is slower and bulkier and not as impulsive. Winter is not the carefree season. It strikes me as a heavy season. Weighty with what has happened that year, weighty with your own desires and needs and expectations. It makes you hunker down. You retreat for awhile and watch from the windows. Winter can be treacherous, stinging, bitter. Winter is long and even with those moments of magic, it can be dreary. Especially after Christmas.
But it reassures me. As we enter it, and I get to watch this mornings subtle show of snowflakes in the orange halo of the street light, I am reassured by this yearly slide into death. I am reassured by how the snow falls onto the brown, dead grass and covers the naked branches. I am reassured because I know its not for ever. I know it is for now. It is our yearly way to acknowledge we don’t make life on our own. It is our yearly liturgy of letting go a bit and watching.
The seasons of my heart probably don’t necessarily follow the seasons as we experience them in this unique place where the vast mountains rise up out of the vast prairies. But yearly, when the snow falls here, I am reminded of when I have been slower, bulkier and unable to move fast – in my heart, in my mind, in my spirit. I am reminded of those times when everything is weightier. When I feel the weight of what I desire, what I am capable of and of my big, big incapacities – my big cracks. I am reminded of when I am laid bare and unable to produce any life. And I am struck by how willing the earth is to die, every year. How the grass grows, how the plants hold on until it is time to go. Do they know in 6 months they will be restored? Do plants have genetic memory? I am reminded in winter of times when I have to pull back, stop doing and just watch from the windows for a bit. I am reminded of the grace of letting go. I am watching snow fall and thanking it for bringing me to this place of rest, dormancy, waiting. Snow helps me remember. So it is a sacrament. It helps me see the grace of the world, here in my heart, when I can sit and let go of today’s outcome and let my world be blanketed, covered, weighted. It calms me. And maybe that’s because I know it will end. I can remember years of winters and years of springs. In my heart I know there have been springs after very cold, very dark winters. I can breathe quietly because I know snow heals, in its way. And I hope, with deep knowing, that it does enable rebirth to take place and stun us all anew every year.
I am praying for this world this morning. I am overwhelmed by its hardness and I am overwhelmed by how complicated it seems sometimes. Even the good answers don’t seem to be enough right now. I am overwhelmed by how much I feel about it. I am craving the deadening of snow, the smoothing of the senses that have been firing too much, too often. We are overstimulated and tired and I am thankful for snow to fall onto that. Trusting and hoping that the world will awaken again and will bring life up and out again. Always hoping that that’s the world we actually do live in.
I think the snow stopped for this morning. Just a dusting for today. There will be more – that, an Albertan can assure you of! The girls will be disappointed. though. Snow to them is cause for joy – you can slide down, on your stomach, face first down the hill at school only when there is snow! Not that they both don’t try anyways…… Those kids, they aren’t concerned yet with finding life after death, spring after winter, but finding life within it and because of it.
Those small, concentrated spots of truth and prophetic joy within the drifts of cold, wet, diamond snow.