Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Winter Wonderland?

I drove to class yesterday in awe of the scenery. Snow lay heavy on the tree limbs, yet thanks to the diligent efforts of our township, the roads were merely wet -- a rich, black contrast to the deep, white piles of snow that lined the streets below the arching trees. I've lived in Pennsylvania for all of my adult life, and this didn't look like Pennsylvania. It was breathtaking.

Mother Nature has thrown us quite a few curve balls this winter. Last weekend, forecasters warned of a 1-2-3 punch of storms headed our way, and so far, two of them have come to pass. Last night, rain-turned-ice coated the branches still clothed in snow, creating a winter wonderland different from yesterday's, and less welcome for many folks who woke this morning to find themselves without power.

On Facebook, people talk about extended school years, warm fires and time spent with family indoors and out. The stop-start rhythm of routines begun, then halted by weather patterns has been both exhilarating and frustrating.
As I write this, large chunks of ice are falling from the tree branches outside my window, crashing noisily to the ice-crusted ground below. We've kept power so far today, and I hope that remains the case. Still, the falling ice is disconcerting, a reminder that toasty days spent indoors reading books and doing puzzles and chipping away at to-do lists carry no guarantees. A quick trip to Starbucks to relieve cabin fever was a reminder that not everyone has been operating with heat and light today, and that places of business that have electricity are a refuge for more than just those who've spent too much time cooped up.

This winter, more than any other, I've found myself thinking about people who are always without heat and light, and praying that they have somewhere to go when the weather is bitter and the ground is frozen. While I admire the way the trees curve across freshly plowed streets, someone else is cursing those same trees and the cold temperatures that accompany the blankets of white that seem to bring stillness, but no warmth. Does he have somewhere to go, that many carrying all his belongings in a few plastic grocery bags? Something to eat? Someone to smile at him and make him feel welcome, if only for the night?

I never thought about these things when I was younger, and I don't know if it's motherhood or middle age or simply a winter that seems endless that brings them to mind now. But I do know I have a lot to be grateful for, and as frustrating as the stop-start rhythm of the past few weeks has been, it has allowed me more time to think and to take stock of what I have, and what a blessing it is to be inside, looking out at this winter wonderland from a place of heat and light and family.

Sometimes, I forget that these simple things are not so simple.

No comments:

Post a Comment