A Cup of Snow Tea, Anyone?

February 10, 2010

Millions of little miniature works of perhaps the most ephemeral artistry of all are piled up just outside the door. Marveling at the micro perhaps lends itself well to marvel at the macro: the full spectrum of glory exists from the intricacies and precision of snow crystals as they bond in symmetrical perfection and breathtakingly exquisite detail. And then, they pile up, higher and higher and higher and higher and swirl around madly as they are right now in the night air–almost as if administered by a madman, a very extravagantly wasteful inventor, in an explosion of innocence that leaves the common man reeling with impotence.

But then there are the children: no one needs to inform them how to respond. From the start of our blizzard several days ago, I have enjoyed seeing the children run to the hill across the street, making snow angels and logrolling and sledding all day until late at night; and then, one of my favorite indelible visual marks of this snowy go-around: a woman walking her son home early from school, carrying his backpack as they walked single file in the small shoveled canyon of the sidewalk; I glanced at them as I drove by at a snail’s pace on the icy road to purchase some last-minute items before the storm intensified; her little boy, unbeknownst to her scooped up a mouthful of the newly fallen snow.

I tip my teacup of snow and cream sweetened with maple sugar to the children and to all those who still love the taste of snow.


With the promise of 16 to 24 inches of new snow heading our way from all those miles above, I pulled into the grocery store parking lot, debating if it was really necessary to purchase a few extra items, having stocked up a few days before.

Snow was heavily, soundlessly falling as I made the decision that I already had plenty.

I had just pulled out of the store parking lot onto the nearby residential street when a delightful sight caught my eye: on the porch of a quaint Victorian cottage, a man sat on a wicker chair, arms around a full-grown black lab who rested contentedly in master’s embrace.  He was talking to someone (um, the man, not the dog), perhaps a passerby or a neighbor out to shovel; he smiled and laughed with all the nonchalance of someone enjoying a leisurely summer afternoon.

Since that moment, oh, all of twenty minutes ago, I have decided to coin the phrase: ‘like a picnic in the snow.’  You read it here, folks. Maybe I will develop a logo and make it into a stamp that reads Certified Picnic In The Snow Moment. CPITSM.  Perhaps I have worked as an editor /graphic designer at an engineering firm for too long.  Like the kid in the Sixth Sense who confesses in haunted tones ‘I see dead people,’ I would have to say ‘I see acronyms.’  Engineers stamp their drawings; writers their observations by writing them down; though the thought of a physical stamp is still appealing.

Here’s to the jovial gentleman with his gentle dog out enjoying their view of the ever-intensifying snowfall from their front porch–and their illustrious CPITSM status.

It Is Finished

February 5, 2010

And then there are those moments when our past episodes of missing the mark seem to be tossed in our face: and we are given a choice to respond in one way or another.

My default is to agree with the unspoken conclusion that I will never rise above my failures; that they are the final definers of my being.

Then, another thought shatters the greedy dark: IT IS FINISHED. Words more profound were never spoken about the very nature of our struggle with sin and its ugly consequences. Sin has been crucified. MY sin has been crucified. I can choose to believe that and stand on its truth, stretching like a safe walkway through the otherwise perilous ground of regret and shame. It certainly beats the alternative.