Friday, January 08, 2010

Escaping Winter

by Susan

"The Escape Winter Sale. Save 30%!"

It was an ad for a cut-rate travel agency and it made me think. "Do I really want to escape winter?" My mind flitted through a million different scenes in an instant. Mountains of snow, dripping icicles, bitter cold steering wheel first thing in the morning , winter driving , black ice, biting wind.

Nah. I don't want to escape it...

I love winter. It's one of the things my mother taught me. To be grateful for the one season almost everyone else seems to hate. Whenever I hear the snow crunching under my feet, I think of her. She loved that sound - the sound that you hear only on the days of the most bitter cold - when the snow is dry and powdery. It was Mom who modeled for me that particular icy-fresh joy of catching snowflakes on my tongue. And a thousand other joys that come only in the winter.

I've lots of happy memories of this season. Three days off school in Windsor, where I grew up, because we got five inches of snow there the year I turned 11. Skating with my dad and siblings on Devil's Crick. (That's how you pronounce "creek" if you grow up in Ontario's deepest south.) Cleaning off Mom's windshield for her while she got ready for work in the morning, and then being the recipient of her expressions of gratitude that she did not to have to do it herself. Building snowmen and snowforts with my brother Dave. Flying down the hill across the road from Grandpa Cook's farm on a toboggan, hitting a rock and then being unceremoniously separated from my red wool hat which landed a good 20 feet from where I did - to the mirth and merriment of the rest of the family who watched from the top of the hill.

Today there different enjoyments. The sight of naked tree limbs, dark and dismal grey against the snowy landscape. How I marvel that there is just as much root structure below the ground as there is now revealed above it and thinking how different it will all look when the leaves unfurl with the promise of spring. The bright red cheeks and steamy breath of my snow-suited grandsons as they trudge up the laneway headed for a few moments respite from their parents at Papa's House. Snow covers everything now, and sometimes makes driving an adventure at best, but fifty-seven winters have taught me that spring always, always comes. It's hidden like a promise under the snow.

No, I have no desire to "escape winter". I would miss so much!

Tonight at cell group someone mentioned the seasons... and how they are temporary. They always pass. Winter will indeed turn into spring.

Right now I'm in a winter season as much on the inside of me as the outside... There was a time I would have run like crazy to escape the feelings - or sometimes it's the tlack thereof. But just as much as those fifty-seven winters have taught me that there is a promise under the snow, so my heart waits for the sound of the turtledove to be heard in the land. My heart is quiet. Trusting. Like a weaned child... Not looking for anything; content just to "be".

Spring will surely come and I will welcome it when it does. But for now there's a joy that is ever so quiet and ever so crisp in a gentle sort of way. It's the joy of waiting. Waiting and knowing.

Spring is on its way.

5 comments:

Dave Hingsburger said...

Susan, another lovely post. I too like winter, I love hunkering down on the couch under a blanket and a cup of tea and watch snow fly outside. There is a deliciousness to 'being in'. I like how going out is an adventure and how everybody, total strangers, want to talk about how cold it is. It's when Canadians bond. Give me winter.

Belinda said...

Without winter, the spring would never seem as miraculous as it is. I'm celebrating the lengthening days--and signs of the end of winter--of all kinds. You can't rush the seasons but you can depend on their rhythm; the endless cycle since the earth was spoken into being. Rebirth, renewal, regeneration, resurrection--all birthed out of winter's dead.

MARILYN said...

Love the parallel you've drawn!

I was once set straight by a friend who heard me say I hated summer (because of heat and humidity). "God made all the seasons, each for a reason, and we should not hate them," he said. Thanks for bringing this out and for tying it together with the seasons of our lives.

Deidra said...

I'm a recovering hater of winter. This year, however, I made a vow to embrace it, rather than to struggle through it complaining and whining and missing its beauty. What a difference my perspective has made this year. And just in time...the people who've lived here all their lives say they haven't seen a winter as intense as this one in over thirty years!

Joanna Mallory said...

There's a lot of beauty in winter, even in the starkness. I confess I enjoy winter -- from inside my warm house looking out!

Thanks for this celebration of the season, and for affirming those seasons of the heart. They "come to pass" like the others. That verse about resting in God's embrace like a weaned child is special to me too.