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Rushing to Ignore the Quiet
- January 22, 2016
- Josh Godwin
Near the end of January, we are in the midst of the downhill coast coming off of the busiest and most hectic time of the year. For all the idle time that comes with many summers, it’s the Christmas and New Years season that could do with some down time. However, that is not the case and the month of December and early January tend to be one of the most stressful times of the entire calendar.
However, there is one specific period of time that outpaces even Christmas in terms of stress and hecticness. There is no greater amount of hullaballoo and fluster than during the lead up to a snow incident in the American South. Specifically for my own home in North Carolina, even a whisper of snow, the slightest rumor, can throw an entire state of people into a flummoxed mad scramble to grocery and hardware stores. It’s almost like a magic trick: as soon as a meteorologist whispers the word “snow” or “ice” in a dark corner of the News station, everyone within a 50 mile radius rushes to the nearest provision center to seek the 3 necessities of milk, bread, and eggs making them almost instantly vanish off the shelves! It becomes news on those same news stations when they find out which stores still have these available to sell.
Why all of a sudden the rush for a collection of breakfast foods? Does snow give people a huge hankering for scrambled eggs, toast, and a glass of milk? I often grew up wondering what other people thought in more northern areas about this winter weather ritual? While I too participated in this rush for the winter necessities, I caught myself wondering, “Why?”
And not “why?” in the sense of “Why do I need these things?” I understand the premise in purchasing provisions incase the worst happens. I get it; bread is an ingredient for almost everything, so why not pick up as many loaves as you can physically carry? No, I was more struck by the irony of this rush with the nature of winter weather, specifically snow.
We all know that sleet and freezing rain are like gnats; what honest role do they play in nature? There’s no need for sleet in the way nature works, just like there’s little to no purpose for gnats to exist. So push those to the side with me. Let’s think about snow.
For just a moment, just a little quick one, abandon our adult perceptions of snow as messy and inconvenient. Think about snow as you once did as a little child, as the most fun of all weather, as a supreme moment of peace quickly demolished by the jubilant screams of other children as the snowball fight begins and that once pristine surface of snow cut with deep troughs where snowmen were gathered and rolled up.
This is always the result of the snow I like to think about, not the frantic rush for supplies or the stress of troubles it might bring. Watching snow fall and looking out over a fresh snow is one of the most peaceful moments that nature presents. There’s a hush that falls over the world during a snowfall, when all sounds are muffled by the fluff and the cold wind is more playfully brisk than painfully biting. It compels me to fill the gap of noise with the presence of the Creator who made all of it.
To me, a fresh blanket of snowfall is a holy moment. It’s a moment when the world stops, all the hecticness, noise, and stress falls away and the presence of God comes to the fore. While I know all the ramifications of snowfall and all the problems it can cause, try to think about snow as a child for a little while and look out over that blanket, feel the cold, hear the silence, and experience the moment with the holy presence of God.
In that moment of peace, the presence of God is real and near. So while we may all dash around trying desperately to grab those necessities, take some time once you have them to experience the spirituality of the snow.