I’m crossing every finger I have before I write this. After all, Colorado’s teased me before. But the signs are finally starting to appear.
A chill in the air.
Frost on the windshield.
Forecasts that ever-so-tentatively but undeniably invoke the S-word.
No, not THAT one. (This is for a family newspaper, after all.) The other one. The four-letter word that Coloradans say with just about as much fervency.
Yes, that’s my cheering you hear in the background. And yes, I’m THAT neighbor, the one that everyone always warned you about.
I am officially a Winter Weirdo.
Now before we get too far into this, yes, I remember the blizzard we had last March. And the hours I spent shoveling. And the industrial-size quantities of ibuprofen that my back required afterward. This isn’t a Hollywood special effect that gets cleaned up by the props department afterward.
But still: snow!
There’s something about a snowy winter that turns me into a little kid again. The heat of summer saps my strength and my spirit; spring and autumn bring lengthy to-do lists as everything wakes up or slows down.
But snow? Snow brings me alive.
It’s transformative, making familiar landscapes into new vistas.
It’s reflective, adding an extra sparkle and shine to holiday lights
And yes, it’s cautionary, warning the world to only go out if you mean it, to be careful if you do, and to pay attention to the neighbor – or stranger – who needs an extra hand.
But mostly what it’s been this season is “not here.” And that’s felt a little off-balance, like a dance that’s missing a step.
In that sense, of course, it’s oddly fitting. Everything feels a little out of kilter and has for months, in the world and in ourselves.
So maybe it’s appropriate to be entering a season of peace.
Yeah, I know: ha, ha and ha again. Peace is something we sing about at this time of year but often have trouble feeling. Everything seems calculated to raise our stress and anxiety, whether it’s preparing for family or looking up shipping times for gifts in an age of supply-chain stress. (“It arrives WHEN?”) And that’s without figuring in the Ghosts of Christmases Past – the folks who should be present and aren’t, leaving a hole in the holiday cheer.
I get it. I really do.
And that’s why reaching for peace has become more important than ever.
I don’t mean peace in the sense of “all is calm.” That’s comparatively easy – any time you get the kids to quiet down for two minutes or so, you have that sort of peace. But there are older senses of the word. One of my friends, an author, likes to point to the Greek word “eirene” which refers to weaving or tying – peace is when all are woven together. Another friend, a former pastor of mine, goes to the Hebrew “shalom,” where peace is when things are whole or complete, when everything is as it should be.
Both are lofty goals, the work of a lifetime rather than a season. So it’s good to have a time where we’re reminded. That the goal isn’t to fight to de-stress, but to reach out, to hold together with one another, to be the missing piece in a puzzle that needs you – or to rejoice when someone becomes yours. To be at peace in the best sense.
That’s a holiday gift worth giving.
But if anyone wants to throw in a couple of inches of snow to go with it, I’m more than ready.