I was rudely awakened early this morning when my iPod dock automatically beeped on. Apparently there had been a power failure during the night, and was only just coming back on. At the time I was a bit disgruntled seeing as it was only 5:30am, but after learning that many townsfolk only received full power just now (11:00am) I’ve certainly changed my “who disturbs my slumber?” grumps.
Yesterday evening I sat in line for the drive-through carwash. Windows were down. Hot sun was streaming in. I actually thought my left arm was going to get sunburned.
This morning I woke up to this…
Spring snows have returned to Alberta.
And you know what?
THIS is the kind of snow I live for.
And judging from the wailing on social media, I’m probably making up some kind of witchcraft or other devilry. But hear me out.
I love the first autumn snows — sometimes showing up in December, but more often than now showing up as early as September. I love the mid-winter snows, especially around Christmas. I love the deep winter snows… but not as much. They tend to be colder, drier, and stretch out longer. It’s by this time that the gloom that comes with long, drawn-out Canadian winters catches up with me. As one who struggles with major depressive episodes, dysthymia and anxiety, the seasons have major impacts on my mental health and my spirit.
So when people shake their fists at the sky when heavy wet snow falls on the first day of April, I can empathize.
“Why, God, WHY?!?!”
… there is something fundamentally different about spring snows, as compared to all the other kinds of snow. For me, not only discover it, but to learn to LOVE it was a hard journey. Some might think it a fruitless journey; it’s easier to complain than it is to search for the profundity in the nature of things. Depression would have me simply not care… not be ABLE to care… or to WANT to care but have 0% reserve to do so…; anxiety would have me wringing me hands at being house-bound with severe cabin fever, wondering when it all would end, or what if I was forced to eat my shoelaces; and plain old frustration at winter would have me simply grumpy.
Choosing life and beauty now doesn’t seem such a silly thing, then, does it?
This week is Holy Week.
Granted it’s not Holy Week for everyone, but it is for me. And to me Holy Week represents, among other things, new life… cleansing… renewal… restoration… healing.
In Alberta, our springs can get terribly dry extremely fast. Forest fire season starts in winter, believe it or not. Moisture for forests and fields is a blessing when we understand the climate we dwell in.
So today, this snow is a precious white water soaking into the cold ground, coaxing it to “Wake up! It’s time!”
Fresh, clean water is a precious commodity in our world, and here we have spades of it dumped on us! And yet, like the Israelites wandering in the desert, we scratch our heads perplexed and wonder “What IS this?”
It’s Manna, folks.
Nourishment from God.
And, like the Israelites, after having been on a steady diet of the white stuff for an extended period of time, we’re tired and we need more. Our bodies, our minds, our spirits are ready to wake up. We need MORE! In spite of their complaining way of talking about Manna, the Israelites weren’t too far off in recognizing that more was required.
But still… beauty in the “What fresh new hell is THIS??!?”
Beauty in the knowledge that this white water is both cleansing and heavy.
The spearmint green new grass is poking through the white stuff, creating a fantastic contrast of life on life; the air is clean and crisp; children are building snowmen and having snowball fights; and water from heaven reminds me that we are not alone.
We are called to be still… to be silent… to pause… to breathe… to absorb more slowly the Passion of this week rather than running to and from all the Easter dinners or services or events we need to be at.
Take it in.
Take it all in.
And, like most gifts, there is a responsibility that comes with it.
As much as I love Alberta’s Spring Snows, I know they are a heavy burden on some people. As beautiful and wondrous as the snow is, my landlady (a senior) could really use a hand shovelling it away. I’m sure we can all break our cabin-fever a bit and help shovel a sidewalk or two for our friends who aren’t able to.
And yes, long drawn-out overcast skies take their toll on our spirits. It’s not a grumbling thing or a complaining thing; but it’s a spirit thing that cries out for the renewed life spring brings. We can be the non-judgmental ears, the shoulders to cry on, the arms that hold for people who are living their best ways through gloomy days and need some support.
Much like Easter.
In the midst of the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, I submit to you the love I have for our Spring Snows — moisture we need so badly… heavenly water cleansing us anew, preparing us for the awakening and resurrection to come… the gift of a slow-down… and the opportunity to connect with friends and neighbours.
The snows will pass. It all will melt.
But I don’t want it all to pass by without receiving every flake of it with a new love for it.
… go and play in the snow. 😀