all the blinding brightness

snowprintsSnow came to South Carolina last night, and oh, how the children {and I!} rejoiced. It’s been a few years since anything white padded our lawns, and my kids couldn’t ever remember seeing it. When the first rumors of a Winter Storm circulated on Sunday night or Monday, none of us knew if we could believe it. Monday’s weather was beautiful, in the sixties, sunny and dry. Schools let out early Tuesday and everyone waited in anticipation of what was supposed to start around 3 in the afternoon. The excitement swelled and we watched and waited. Across the city everyone had prepped in case we lost power or couldn’t leave home, bought out all the milk at all the store in town. {This is SC y’all, we don’t have many snowplows…} We opened all the blinds so we could watch the beautiful sky fill with falling flakes. But it was dark before the long anticipated snow arrived, blanketing the area in soft and quiet beauty.

This morning the brightness filled our windows. My little ones took a break to defrost from their galavanting, and I stole away for a long walk down the briliant lanes and roads. Seeing as I had nothing better to keep the wet and cold off, I borrowed my husband’s snake boots. They were a bit large but did the job well enough.

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Every time I see snowfall I remember my college years up in western Pennsylvania. Yes, I’m a Southerner; grew up outside of Atlanta. But I spent four years at Grove City up in PA and the Lake Effect snow permeates my memory to the extent that now every time it falls I recall hours bent over molecular biology texts and organic chemistry books and writing philosophy papers, all while snow after snow fell outside the large library windows. There were jogs in the snow, and hot cider, and fun to be had, and I loved those years with people who became dear, dear friends, before I returned to my Southern soil and moved to the grand jewel of a city that is Charleston. It feels so long ago that I studied in those stacks and wondered what the future held, where I’d be in 15 years.

Amaryllis blooms at littleprogressnotes.com The amaryllis chose today to open, her red petals unfurling even as the landscape whitened. That scarlet red against the backdrop of snow, it’s no coincidence He chose today to call her out. Scarlet and white. Each flower bends to His will, and there are always a thousand things He’s doing under the surface of what we see. I saw some lampposts in the snow on my walk, too. Little signposts in the paths of my life that whisper of things unseen.

January is almost finished. Already, 2014 has been full of burst pipes (we Southerners don’t remember to drip our faucets), lawnmowers running over outdoor electrical plugs causing septic pumps to fail, and basement flooring that had to be ripped up to repair. But January has also brought small toes on a growing baby full of coos and chirps, three pairs of bright blue eyes seeing their first snow, a handsome beard on my husband’s kind face, long reading sessions by the fire while children nap and then snuggles with picture books when they wake, and the feeling of baby weight falling off as I embrace my new daily habits. And there has been good cooking. Each week I’ve baked fresh molasses Whole Wheat Bread for our sandwiches, and stirred up pot after pot of savory stew and soup.

I have lately found ways to worship in my heart as I flutter around the kitchen, tending to the nourishment for the ones I love. But I’d bet to say that my kitchen is a bit more busy than Brother Lawrence’s Parisian monastery. I think of his famous words, which I love…

The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.

…and I think he probably didn’t have three kids five and under either screaming or tearing up the monastery while he finished up his dishes, and I bet he didn’t end up raising his voice too much as I often do. So yeah, there is a lot of chaos in my life right now, and messy rooms, and even as I declutter one area another is torn asunder. Toys scatter across most floors and I try to patiently teach Littles how to order and care for their gifts but fail more than I succeed. But this is a season of rich living for us, as I’ve seen enough of the other sort, in hospitals, the losing sort of life that can happen at the end, when the pain won’t stop without eternity being crossed. So I say my thanks for it all and wrestle in my heart to raise eyes from the chores long enough to just savor the pure joy of living and newness that surrounds us. I’m fast approaching my 35th birthday, halfway across the decade to 40. I know what I am made for, and it is worship.

The snow falls and covers it all in pure whiteness. And I wonder. What kind of whiteness is whiter than snow?

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{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Rhonda February 3, 2014 at 1:04 am

    I stumbled on your blog from your other site. I was born in Grove City!!! Lived there for awhile too until I moved to Georgia. I miss the South so much!! I live in Kansas now. It snowed once the entire time I lived there but it wasn’t much, not like in your pictures.

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