the simple blessing of a snowy morning
it is as close as i’ve ever come to waking up inside the pages of a picture book, or an enchanted forest, the waking up to fat flakes falling, to heaps and meringues of snow on every flat plane, every bough and twig; even the lumps in the walk get a dollop of beautiful. everything sometimes deserves to be adorned. everything sometimes yearns to be simply lovely.
the days of waking to grace feel numbered of late. more often i awake with a lump in my belly, a worry grown big and bigger in the dark and the tangle of sheets. almost like a sourdough rising, the way the night worries grow. but today is not one of those days. today it begins with nose pressed to the pane. i long to step outside in the thick blue light of it, the silence of it. but i’ve a silly thing about not wanting to mar the tableau, not wanting to plunk my boots in the seamlessness of it all. so i keep to my side of the glass. and i let the snow and the quiet fall unbroken.
i marvel always at the ways the world––grace, God, unseen sacred stirring––steps in just as i need it. the way the prescriptive fills every hunger and hurt. it’s as if all creation is apothecary for the soul. and when we quiet ourselves, and allow its medicinal balms to seep into the cuts and the lumps and aches, the healing comes. the respite of catching our breath, making sense of the madness.
just this morning i awoke with the knowing that a longtime beloved friend had awakened yesterday to find her husband still in his chair from the night before. he’d died, alone. he was 67. no one saw it coming. the night before, wednesday, had been any old wednesday; my friend had made meatloaf for dinner, hadn’t a clue that one single thing was not as it should be. life shatters without making a sound.
my faraway best, best friend is going to surgery next week, her second time in ten years with a surgeon and an oncologist she calls her own. a third friend, one of my bridesmaids, is sitting by her sister’s bedside in dallas, where the cancer has crept into her brain, and where upon finishing a CT scan last week, her sister (four years younger than me) had suffered a stroke. right there on the gurney. right there in the middle of an already terrible cancer.
i ache for every one of them, ache in ways that push against the walls of my heart. ache in ways that crowd every other thought out of my head. ache in ways that make me pay more attention than ever to the most ordinary of miracles.
and this morning i sit here absorbed in the lull that follows an overnight snow. it’s as if all creation understands we need silence between all the noise. we need the holy pause that allows us to catch our broken breath, to be still as we gather up the shards, put the pieces back together again.
the world aims to comfort us; it’s one of its marvels. it aims to shake us to our core, too. another one of its marvels.
how blessed are we that we live in a world of creation, sacred creation, a world where the woods are a balm. where the red bird alights. where snow falls without sound. where, dawn after dawn, the sun rises. and stars stitch the night sky.
the blessings abound. all we are asked is to notice.
dear God, thank you for the balm of this holy morning. may grace fall in thick meringues on the ones i love who are so deeply hurting. and afraid. and alone.
and just like that i looked up, and the red bird came. just beyond my window in a nestle of branches puffy with snow.
God answered. and the red bird flew.
where did you find grace this morning?
in case you need a quiet walk in the wintry woods here’s a little miracle sent my way; last night i gave a talk on the stillness of winter, and opened the evening with this moment of beauty. not all of you live in snowy climes, so here’s your taste of it, too. may it bring you peace, this walk in the snow-laden woods…
Jesus God, Lord have mercy.
“life shatters without making a sound.”
Thank you for the reminder of beauty. But … 💔. Praying for all your lovies. And you.
thank you, my beautiful. sending love. always.
I had a birthday this week and it’s an unfortunate certainty that I’ve reached the age where I’m so much older on the outside than I feel on the inside. My body reminds me constantly that I need to slow down. And the world around me reminds me daily that time marches on. Many of my friends are losing parents and spouses. Loved ones battle a host of illnesses. I’ll never forget how shocked I was years ago when my parents told me that they checked the obituaries daily because so many of their friends and acquaintances were dying. Now it’s my turn to page through that section of the Tribune. I had a double whammy this week; my dad was diagnosed with liver cancer and one of my dearest friends has M.S.. Not the trifecta that you’re experiencing, but it has shaken me up and leaves me absolutely dumbfounded. Thank you for your description of the beautiful, silent snowfall that eased your bruised heart this morning. God does come through for us when the scale is weighted heavily on the side of sorrow. Where did I find His grace today? Right here at the table. ❤️
oh, dear dear dear, tragedies aren’t measured by count, and so your double whammy — your beloved papa, your dear friend — is staggering. i am soo sooo sorry. and, also, blessed birthday. i didn’t know we shared a birthday month. and now i am guessing which day. i know one of our best friends here at the table has found out within the last year that she has MS, and she is fully engaged in keeping it at bay. bless her, bless your friend. and your papa’s liver cancer, i am just so so sorry. it melts me that grace found you here. and thank God it did. xoxoxo big giant hug. (sending a note….)
Oh, my … Sending up a prayer for you and yours, Katherine. ❤️
My thanks to both of you! ❤️❤️ It’s so wonderful to have a safe place to air my woes. And Barbie, I’m praying for your dear ones. I can’t believe I didn’t include that earlier.
Oh dear Bam, what a week for you, for all of us. We really are in the throes of Winter Life Season, besides the silvering snow of hair. The landscape ahead is outlined by these passings. My week has seen similar losses in the lives of long time friends. One “sister friend” passed on Monday and I am grateful I could say goodby in person. Another “sister friend”’s husband passed unexpectedly Thursday afternoon. January is perhaps the cruelest month, not March when spring is early palpable. Ironically I am enjoying winter more than anytime in my life. The cold makes me feel so alive, The snowflakes dancing make me smile. The dullest colored bird delights in sound and movement. The passing of friends who have been keepers of shared story memories remind me to hold moments with other friends closer than ever and enjoy the season for all its worth. We only go one season at time. xxoo
as always, as always, wisdom speaks from your chair at the table. i love that you find counterbalance to heartache in the quiet wonders around you. i am so sorry for your losses, too. and i send a giant hug across the lake into your cove in the woods. love, b. xoxox
Sending prayers for you, your friends, and your family. Please do your best to stay and warm. 💙
Well, doesn’t this melt my heart on a Sunday morn. Good morning, beautiful MS.