The Winter of our Content

Dear Winter Warriors,

As the snow accumulates on our back deck, I’m musing how snowstorms have this amazing quality of timelessness. While we are taught that no two snowflakes are alike, snowstorms, in my memory, are all aligned as one big contiguous accumulation of white wonder. Briefly, I suspend all knowledge of snow’s intrusion into my routine, the repetitious weight of the shovel, the crunchy scraping of a windshield, spinning tires rocking from a drift, and I am lost in the anticipation of flapping arms of an angel, the careful engineering of a fort, red runners cutting into the side of a great hill.

Suddenly my memory carries me to the earth-covered reservoir mere blocks from the arctic base-camp of home. Great fortune created by city planners placing our neighborhood water supply towering above ground, then buried. A massive hump of earth rising higher than the surrounding houses, sloping down to a gully by the train track.

In summer the reservoir was the impressive first tee of the country club we never joined, never trespassed. But winter snow rendered private membership impotent, and the grand egalitarian mound of wondrous white beckoned all to ascend the switchback trail and choose the direction to slam a sled on the north-face, accelerating a flexible-flyer toward the small woods below.

Past casualties never dampened our courage--a bloody nose for a brother trying to thread his craft between two massive elms flipped by an unyielding trunk root, pinched fingers between the steering slat and metal frame, in third grade a foot broken by slamming into a stopped-short toboggan. No, patched up in the dispensary of rapidly healing youth, once given clearance we would wax our runners, queue our snow-ships and prepare to fly again.

Mission accomplished, we would trudge back to home base, peeling off layers of corduroy and wool, revealing reddened cheeks and cold-purpled toes, discovering the joy of warmth as if it was the first time furnace-blown air had ever touched our arctic hardened skin. Dozing with care balanced mugs of chocolate or tea or soup, we manateed our weary bodies in front of a screen as black and white as the world from which we had just narrowly experienced survival.

To me it seems sacrilegious to slap the phrase of psalm or praise hymn over the wondrous sheaf of white. Sometimes God speaks in words thundering from the pages of Holy Writ. Other times the grand Divine whispers more eloquently in timeless falling snow.

Missing the old Flexible Flyer, I remain,

With Love,
Jonathan Krogh
Your Pastor