winter season

It’s a snowy day, church is cancelled and I just walked our dog Nova. Nova is part husky, a rescue, so she loves the snow. She loves to put her nose into the snow banks and then make this sputtering noise. It sounds odd but it is obviously pure joy to her. She also like to jump into the deep snow and leap like a gazelle. The snow around me during the walk was beautiful, I saw lots of men (not sure why it always seems to be men) out with snow blowers. On a weekend morning the men always seem happy to be using the snow blowers, on a weekday evening, not-so-much!

I constantly think, some say too much, about what I see and hear and draw connections between this and a bigger picture of human experience. The feeling part lags behindJ. But on this day the connections I am making have to do with the winter season of death and sleep and nocturnal activity. There is a quality of peace, even calm and serenity about some days. But we forget that mixed into this time is a reminder of what is missing. For active people like me, who draw inspiration and faith from growth and relationship and analysis and action these days are a puzzle. There was a time when a day like today made me feel like a lion in a cage. I find myself pacing through the hallways, doing laundry, checking email, making lists, preparing boots and hats I have bought for people, sorting, organizing…

I make no apology for such behavior, it is how God made me and I get a lot of joy and satisfaction from this. But I realize there are part of the human experience I miss when I fail to deal with the winter times of life. I find that many of my friends are the opposite, they love the winter times of life but somehow get distracted and miss out on the spring times of growth and activity. The lean into winter and away from spring can lead to a restlessness and frustration, a sense that something is missing. I see and hear this in others often. But for me it is the opposite, a sense that while all cylinders are operating at full tilt there is no sense of satisfaction, relaxation and peace. These qualities I can miss and every once in a while I watch others doing this and feel wistful.

So today I stand by my daughter making me eggs for breakfast, I look out our large clear window and let the snowy beauty relax my soul, I sit with my dog and pat her as she looks up at me with curiosity and peace. I think the human spirit needs all the seasons and this prepares us for the variety of experiences in our lives and in our community. There will come a time, likely not long from now, when I will not be able to do and be what I am now. Will I be able to handle it, find other seasons of the spirit to keep me whole, enjoy other parts of the human experience? I hope so.

What seasons of the spirit do you thrive on, miss out on, rarely experience, lean into? The summer is a time to bask in the light, autumn a time to see the beauty of colours and accept the reality of dying. But winter is death, it is stillness, it is a beauty born of a warm blanket.

For the moment I will sit still and let the beauty and rest of Creation calm and satisfy me. But there is church tonight, at Brunswick Street, so this rest will not endure too long. There is only so much winter some of us can handle…