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Friday, December 19, 2008

Waiting for Advent Snow

If you're lucky enough to live in a place where there are four seasons, I suppose you're lucky enough.

For those of you who are 'lucky enough' to know what I'm talking about, I have a question: Have you ever noticed that something happens to the sky just before a snow storm arrives?

There is a bright blue stillness. The clouds become very white and heavy. Slowly, gradually, the sun goes in and the sky becomes filled with gray clouds. There is a steel grayness to everything which is accented by prolonged moments of an almost erie stillness.

Anticipation of the storm has already limited traffic.

The birds have fallen silent. There is no perceptible wind.

It's as if Someone is repeatedly saying, "Shhh . . . Wait . . . Shhhh . . . Wait."

And then, suddenly, at the precisely unpredictable moment when you've become weary of the wait and busy yourself with this and that, you look out the window and there it is . . . White, fluff pieces of the heavens, gracefully dancing in the gentle stillness.

It won't take long, however, for that gentle dance to become a white, whirling dervish, the large, fat flakes of wonder falling vigorously, almost violently, to the ground in a randomly precise pattern, falling where they are blown and yet exactly where they are supposed to be.

Something in me will not be able to resist the call to put on hat, coat, boots, gloves and scarf and run into the middle of it like a woman meeting her long lost lover.

I will turn my face up, right into the oncoming flakes, to feel their kisses covering my face with wild abandon.

Just as I did when I was a child, I will open my mouth and welcome a few flakes to fall on my tongue like pieces broken off a celestial wafer.

Holy Communion.

Oh, in no time at all, I'll be grinching and complaining about how I have to shovel it off my walk and driveway. I am human. Very human.

But it is now, now in the stillness.

Now in the gray quiet.

Now in the sweetness of anticipation.

Now in the memories.

Now in the mindless busyness of waiting.

Now in the expectation of the gift.

Now in the silence that has even hushed the birds from chirping their "O Antiphons."

Now in this suspended moment in time.

Now comes Advent.

Now. Now. Now.


Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, what a beautiful meditation! Thank you.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You are entirely welcome, Whiteycat.

ROBERTA said...

love, love, love the celestial wafer! what a great way to anticipate snowflakes and advent - all at the same moment!

thank you

Bill said...

I've just spent 3 hours meditating with a snow blower. I find myself yearning for sun and sand as my eyes behold the vesper light.

Suzer said...

Yes, it is truly beautiful. I second the "thank you."

My favorite moment, I think, is the sound of those first snowflakes hitting the ground, breaking the hush of the birds and the air with a tiny pitter pat. That gentle sound before the storm. It's lovely, and I don't often get to hear it where I live.

June Butler said...

Lovely, Elizabeth.

I will turn my face up, right into the oncoming flakes, to feel their kisses covering my face with wild abandon.

As good as my kiss?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Roberta - I'm sure that's not an original thought, but it's what I have long thought about the snow.

Oh, Bill - I can't even begin to imagine how sore you are going to be tomorrow. You've had quite a work out today, even with the snow blower. Two words: Epsom Salt. Two more: Hot Bath. Just one more: Soak.

Suzer - yes, the sound of snow falling is absolutely delicious. Sounds like a newborn breathing.

Ah, Mimi - nothing could ever compare to the memory of your kiss. Except, of course, for the part about "wild abandon." You've got some work to do on that.

Then again, we were in public. Then again, we were in a French Restaurant in the middle of Chelsea in NYC, for goodness sake.

Never mind. I won't let any of that ruin my memory of a kiss from the now almost world famous Mimi.

Scott R. Davis said...

very poetic and filled with emotion. Yes, i looked up to the same sky today and saw those moments as well.
a poem full of love and anticipation of God's return to earth both then and in the future.

And return of lovers as well.

Anonymous said...

That was truly beautiful. I don't have that much experience with snow (and for sure almost no experience with enough snow to cover the ground with no brown patches showing), but in the nights when it COULD snow, when it's cold and yet not very dark, the sky is so clear, that's when I remember hearing the crystal silvery almost-sound. It's not quite audible, it's a sound-beyond-sound, but you can hear the promise in it.

But I have felt that pull to quickly get out in the snow while it's still snowing. Partly because snow melts so fast here, it's best to enjoy it as it falls. On snow mornings growing up, my brother and sister and I would run outside, the moment any of us knew it snowed. No coat, no mittens, no shoes or socks, we'd just run to dance barefoot in the snow. Despite what we were told, we haven't caught our death yet. Don't know about bro and sis, but I still don't bother with shoes or socks.

Doorman-Priest said...

I live in a place with four seasons in Yorkshire, in the North of England. Our weather suffers Attention Deficit Disorder and can't concentrate long enough to make anything stick. You wake up to a blizzard and snow drifts that paralyse the county and by lunchtime its all gone and you have a sunny afternoon.

I love the variety but am regularly caught out with the wrong clothing.

Comment moderation gave me "nutwit": what are you telling me?