Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Our second winter storm in one week.  School was cancelled last night in advance of the bitter cold and blowing snow, and soon I will have to go out, start the car, and dig out of the drifts.

Snow drifts are lovely.  Sculpted by God to look like sand in a desert, ocean waves, mountains - repeating themes of motion in stillness, and stillness in motion - reminding me of miniatures of the snowdrifts of my childhood. 

I grew up in a snow belt, where the phrase 'lake effect' had some punch.  I am not geezer-exaggerating when I say we would get eighteen inches of snow overnight and still go to school in the morning.  Our town had (and still has!) sidewalk plows.  I could walk all the way to school and never be able to see over the snow piles to the houses. The neighborhood boys would go to the top of the creek gully behind our house and walk out on the drifts, over the edge, until a drift broke and avalanched them to the bottom.  At the house I lived as a teen, the wind would hit the back of the house and curl the snow up around in a wave, leaving the ground bare so you could walk in a tunnel behind the house.  It wasn't uncommon to find hidden drifts in the woods in early summer, and once I found one taller than me at the end of July.

Drifts form from the action of free-flowing wind against solid objects.  The snow just goes where it is blown.  Our lives are like this.  We have little control over wind and obstacles.  But if we ride it all out we can be part of something breathtakingly beautiful.


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