As this part of the world falls toward winter, another part careers toward spring. Earth is at once cooling and warming, settling into rest and gathering itself for a new burgeoning. That’s the nature, the wholeness, of the creation in which we live. So “Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat; give God praise and glory forever” (“The Song of the Three Young Men,” v. 45).
In “The Gift of Cold,” Fabiana Fondevila writes, “If we belong to the sun and its warmth, to the bud and the sprout, to the miraculous flower, we also belong to the wind, the naked branch, the cold. And what would be its offering for us? A call to quiescence after the joyful indulgence of summer? An urging to leave the world’s business behind for a while to create slow, subtle dreams under the shelter of our own incandescence? An invitation to converge around some bonfire, some stove, to exchange secrets and visions?”
Here in Buffalo, a fair number of folks are anticipating a season in which opportunities for winter sports will abound. Others are preparing to hunker down and endure until spring. I confess looking forward with dread to the inconvenience of snow and the labor of removing it from the driveway and walkways around the house. I’m also looking forward to the drawing in that comes with the season, and to the blessing (if I will accept it) of enforced idleness and the opportunity for rest and reflection that comes with it.
I don’t at first like some of the gifts life brings, but I’m learning to look at them, as I’m learning to look at winter, as the cloak of something deeper, richer, more lifegiving in ways that aren’t initially apparent.