Monday, February 26, 2007

Snowballs from God

It doesn’t snow here very often, but when it does it’s usually an occasion for wonder and joy (except when the power goes out from some snow-laden branch breaking and falling on a power line; then it’s just a little less wonderful). This year, like last, the snow came after some unseasonably warm weather had tricked the trees into blossoming. We’ll have to wait and see how all that turns out. The poor bees are probably confused.

I went for a little prayer-walk up the mountain, though by that time it was slightly warmer and the snow had morphed into a kind of thick rain, but there was still plenty of the white stuff around to add some extra beauty to the forest. As I trudged up the hill, breathing in the cold, clean, wet air, a pine branch somewhere above me suddenly released its slushy burden, which landed with a thud on my head. Hmmph, I muttered (but with a smile beginning to emerge), God is throwing snowballs at me! I briefly considered throwing one back, but I figured He’d be too fast for me and easily dodge it. Then again, since He’s everywhere present I did stand a chance to hit a piece of Him. Well, I decided to just walk on and see what else might be in store.

More slushballs came plopping down on me and I began to enjoy the game. The mountain path was part snow and part packed earth and part streams of melting snow. The higher I went, the more the snow was still intact. I stopped at a little shrine on the path and prayed for a moment, thanking God for the beauty of his creation and even for his bit of playfulness, since I’d been feeling somewhat burdened with certain difficulties that had recently arisen. I think He wanted me to lighten up, so He tossed a few snowballs at me! But there were more delightful things to come.

On the way back down the mountain, I noticed a few streaks of sun cutting through the trees and splashing about here and there along the mountain path. I looked up and beheld a few bright blue patches above, nicely contrasting the billowing gray-white clouds and fog that had been swirling around. (I had to be careful about looking up, though, lest I receive another cold surprise right in the face!) The farther I walked, the brighter it got. I turned toward the east and saw the sun shining through the falling rain, making it all light up like liquid glitter, dazzling the eye and delighting the soul. Then a certain large drop resting on a fallen branch started throwing around the colors of the spectrum as a sunbeam hit it just right. It really is breathtaking to stand in a cold, bright, sunlit rain in the midst of a snowy forest. I wondered if Paradise would be something like this—new marvels around every bend, fascinating things seen in ways we have never quite seen them before, new delights from that infinitely creative Mind.

Around the next bend a tall pine was carefully holding a droplet on each of its needles, and they glistened as the sun found a new patch of blue from which to shine. Everywhere I turned: blue, white, green, crystal, light, rain, snow, glory! I walked farther down and the sun made glistening rivulets out of the melting snow, while a patch of it still hid under cloud cover in order to retain is frozen character. I wanted to get my camera and capture some of these marvels, though I had a feeling the Lord just wanted me to enjoy it while it lasted. Sure enough, as I turned around, furious gray fog-clouds were already rushing in from the northwest, and soon everything was dark and the rain came down harder. So, that bit of shining glory was just for me!

When I returned to my cabin, I knew I would want to share this moment of brightness and joy with you, so I sat down at my computer. Hmm, what should I call this? “Snowballs from God,” of course!