Friday, December 4, 2009

Benediction

I saw on the news last night that East Tennessee might experience snow this weekend. Most adults in this area view such information with trepidation. I, however, am the exact opposite and I get quite excited when snow is heading our way. When I was a child, the weather patterns seemed to produce snow in our area much more frequently than we currently experience. Whether that is due to global warming, or whether it can be attributed to normal cycles of nature doesn't matter. That is not the focus of this blog.

I want to talk about the whole experience of snow. I once watched a science program of some type that explained in minute detail what has to occur in order for snow to fall. While I cannot repeat those intricate steps here for you, what I can tell you is that the scientist being interviewed offered his opinion that as conditions for snow to exist are so exacting, specific and random, snow could come close to being called miraculous in scientific terms. I liked that! To those who enjoy snow, it is always a delight to the senses and a miraculous thing to behold.

For me, specifically, I grew up out in the country with my family's land way up towards the top of a ridge. It is always quiet that far out in the country, very isolated from the noise of the city. We hear the trains running in the distance, but that's about it. When a snow would come, my favorite thing to do was wrap up, grab my camera and go for a walk. Our property spans a fairly large area, with woods and open fields to explore year round. As we all are aware, snow makes any landscape translate into a veritable fairytale for the eyes. Trees become majestic sculptures of ice and snow, branches dusted delicately, or heavily, depending upon the type of snow. Shrubs and bushes transform into belled out antebellum skirts that capture the mind and evoke thoughts of winter balls and romantic waltzes. Drifting mists of smoke from neighboring chimneys sting the eyes, and errant snowflakes dance lazily on errant breezes, sparkling in the dim light.

Beyond all of this is the absolute stillness. This is what always lured me from a warm house to tramp through the woods and fields with my camera....the urge to be in the midst of that very loud sense of quiet. Yes, those words are contradictory, but silence can, indeed, be very loud and profound. Snow brings a hush to the world, where even during the day, the birds tend not to sing or chirp. Thoughts would come to diamond bright moments of clarity for me when walking in a snow covered world. Only the distant sound of train whistles could be detected, as though from a distant land, while I walked, cocooned in a miniature paradise. Upon my eventual return to the house, there would be large pans set out on the back porch with which to gather snow and make snow cream. (The subject of snow cream, my friends, deserves its own blog and I promise to write one in the coming days.)

The stillness, the cold air, the soft crunch of my shoes sinking through the snow, the velvet gray clouds hovering and nearly touching the treetops would shrink my world to a snow cloaked domain. I reveled in the absolute sense of peace I always felt in those moments and would stay outside for hours, snapping photographs, walking, thinking and feeling what I call the most immediate and tangible expression of God's presence. Many seek, and find, that presence in church. For me, it comes in different ways, with the most touching and lasting being those moments outside on a snow dusted ridgetop. I always returned to my Mother's house, transformed inside from those walks in the snow. It isn't something that can truly be put into words, that moment of being held, cupped, in the hand of God. That's how walking in the snow always makes me feel.

I no longer live at home, up on the side of the ridge and my current home isn't surrounded by fields and woods to tramp through when it does snow. I miss the freedom of those days, but nothing keeps me from walking outside during or after a snow hits our area, even if that means all I can do is stand out on my back patio and absorb the sensations. Opening my office window to glance outside, indeed, snow is in the air - I can smell it. And I smile in anticipation of a chance to experience that awesome, gentle quiet once again.....the benediction of snow.

3 comments:

  1. Haha.. Snow cream does need its own blog. And yes, I love it that you labeled this post with "snow cream" I love the posts as always, Dawn... You help the world realize the awesomeness of snow.

    ReplyDelete
  2. There is a "Circle of Friends" award for you back on my site. Please accept it! Take care...

    http://www.coffeewithmarty.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the Circle of Friends award! Snow cream blog is in the works, when I stop coughing for more than a span of 30 seconds straight. Thanks for the lovely comments, as always. :-)

    ReplyDelete

ShareThis