Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waking to the complete surprise of snow is so exciting!  It’s similar to feeling of a great Christmas morning – Fun!  There is a mystical, mysterious , and pristine feeling that blankets everything. Suddenly we almost feel as if we’re transported into a new, land – the fresh layer of snow changes how everything looks and feels – it changes our reaction to our environment.

White, transparent clouds hover closely in the air – covering everything with the almost fairy-dust like texture. Romantic images from favorite books and movies are conjured up as the snow sits on the bird house and ground. Mind you, it’s just a thin layer for now that will likely melt.  However, it comes just in time to remind us of the historical value of Hallow’s Eve – preparation for All Saints’ Day and in some places, the celebration of harvest and preparation for a very dark and often cold season in which survival was a serious concern for all.

As we move into our third year of living in Alaska, I find myself being a bit caught off guard again.  Having grown up in the southwest, I never developed the habit of adjusting to changing seasons.  It’s still not an intuitive process for me.  It seemed like there was at least one more week to winterize the lawn and garden….it’s not yet Halloween.  Surely there was more time to organize all the snow clothing.  Here she is, ready or not!

The first snow tells us it’s time to quite down.  The barren trees show us how to be still and let go!  And yet all of our modern comforts numb us to these poetic and necessary seasonal changes.  What if…we just slowed down with the season? Is it possible to live a modern life in Alaska and still live more in tune to the seasonal call of our bodies?  The irony is that the beginning of winter often feels like one of the busiest times of the year. I am guilty of adding more to our life during the Advent season.  Productivity is stressed and strived for in our culture to the degree that being quiet and still seem counter-cultural.  How do we give ourselves permission to surrender to external commitments to allow more time of being present to the quiet of winter? How do we begin?

One thing I know for sure is that the first snow beckons the excitement of getting out to play – on skis and skates! I love the feeling of skiing, down-hill or cross country – and truly experiencing the extraordinary beauty of winter in Alaska.  I love the sound of the kids enthusiastically making snow balls and snow angels, and discovering unique winter treasures in nature.  I love that our children are getting the rich experience of diverse seasons – the benefits are for life!

The first snow is a welcome sight.  May I surrender to winter’s invitation to rest and restore.  “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10  – New American Standard Bible