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I’m Rev. Jess Chancey, filling in for John as he is away on sabbatical.
One of the joys I’ve discovered since moving north is that one thing that makes the freezing cold bearable: snow. It’s so beautiful, the way it coats everything. Now I know there’s plenty of people who can’t stand the stuff. They complain about driving in it, which admittedly can be quite dangerous. They complain about it blowing in their faces as they walk. They complain about how it looks after it’s been on the ground for a while and has turned all grey and brown with mud and grit. My dog specifically complains about the way it clumps in her paws, because she refuses to wear boots.
But I can’t help it; I love it. Maybe it’s because it’s still so novel to me. I didn’t exactly see very much growing up in the deep South. I remember my first time seeing a real snowstorm was in 2016. My sister had moved to Connecticut, and that inspired me to take a vacation to New England. I would fly into Hartford, rent a car, spend the night at Jaclyn’s, then just drive around for a few days, no particular plans, just look around. I got my car at the airport rental place, and on the floor on the passenger side, there was this big brush, it looked like a clothing lint brush for a very tall person. I dutifully walked it back in to the rental desk, held it out and said, “I think someone forgot this in the car.” The attendant was clearly stifling a laugh when he asked, “You’re not from the north, are you?” I’m sure I looked puzzled as he continued, “Hold onto that. You’re going to need it come tomorrow.” It was April. How was my Atlanta-based self supposed to know that snow might still fall in springtime? And how was I supposed to know what a car snow broom was? I’d never seen anything that couldn’t be thrown off with a single swipe of the windshield wipers.
Sure enough, there is was, April 3, I’m waking up in Connecticut, and it. Is. Snowing. By this point, my sister and brother-in-law had educated me about the brush, and I was definitely grateful for it. I was worried about driving in snow, but I found that, after years of driving in Atlanta, I was definitely prepared for any roadway shenanigans. I spent the rest of the trip exploring Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine. I absolutely fell in love with the lighthouses, laughing at the sight of seagulls walking around in the snow. I had never imagined that a bird I associated with the beach could have any congruence with this idyllic winter scene. And yet, of all the pics I took on that trip, the one the delights me the most is one of seagull footprints in the snow.
Now that I live in Minnesota, I get to see plenty of it. And yet, it still brings me joy each time. The first snow of the season thrills me, especially when it’s on a weekend and I can toast the day with a cup of hot cocoa, a warm robe, and fuzzy slippers, sitting on my couch with the aforementioned dog. I delight at watching the cardinals play, and no, I don’t mean the kind you might hear John talking about, I mean the actual birds. I love the way snow reflects the light. I love seeing kids throwing snowballs and making snow people. I couldn’t stop laughing when I made my first snow angel at the end of the St. Paul Winter Carnival with my best friend, as she looked at me like I had completely lost it. And yes, there is video out there somewhere of me howling with glee as I went down the big sled hill at that same carnival.
Perhaps this is just a part of childish joy that I didn’t get a lot of in my youth, so I’m enjoying the newness of it all. Maybe it will wear off in time. But maybe, just maybe, my love of snow is just the deep joy and appreciation I feel when I behold the beauty of God’s creation. All blanketed and beautiful. When all the green is faded, the leaves are fallen, there’s still something to admire, every time these beautiful and unique flakes fall. Maybe next time you’re grumbling about snow, you’ll take a moment to remember that feeling of wonder when you first contemplated it. As for me, I hope for lots and lots of snow to blanket the trail we follow, on this, our journey into the mystic.