January 26, 2021
Have you entered the storehouses of the snow? Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail?
Snow leaves me a bit verklempt. Before snow turns into a gray, goopy, salty menace there is one beautiful, magical day when the world is utterly transformed. The landscape is left unrecognizable with trees crusted in branching shaggy icicles and tree stumps transformed into near-perfect trip hazards. Snow is wonderful, and it is God’s own voice that invites Job into wonderment by asking him to imagine the vast storehouses of snow in heaven.
Snow can be imposing, driving a person inside to wrap fingers around hot cocoa. Yet snow is delightful too, easily able to lure someone outside to go rocketing down a snowy hill on little more than a glorified plastic baking sheet.
And snow, too, helps us to imagine the coming of spring by the sheer power of counterbalance. This is best captured, I think, by a beautiful poem by Philip Larkin.
Lambs that learn to walk in snow
When their bleating clouds the air
Meet a vast unwelcome, know
Nothing but a sunless glare.
Newly stumbling to and fro
All they find, outside the fold,
Is a wretched width of cold.
As they wait beside the ewe,
Her fleeces wetly caked, there lies
Hidden round them, waiting too,
Earth's immeasureable surprise.
They could not grasp it if they knew,
What so soon will wake and grow
Utterly unlike the snow.
As we look out on a snowy day today, carry with you the wonder and joy of what is to come. Even if it feels far away, a thaw is coming.