First let me thank Myer Bornstein for giving me permission to use his wonderful photos. Please visit him at http://www.photobee1.com/#!/index to see more of his amazing work.
I’ve never been keen about winter. I just don’t want to deal with the extra stress that winter makes me feel. I keep trying to find good things about winter. Just last week I went on a nice long walk and really enjoyed the crisp air and the peaceful quiet. Of course that day it was almost 40 out, sunny and no wind or harsh weather to deal with. And I did find beauty and was thrilled to share some time with a hawk sitting on a branch next to the path.
The other day was one of those winter days that fills me with stress. I went to bed the night before knowing that I would either wake to snow, a mix of snow/sleet/ice/rain, or rain. I was really hoping for a snow day. Of course, adult snow days aren’t as magical because you know you still have bills to pay and shoveling to do. But I still hope for it.
It wasn’t to be. I woke to a couple of inches of slush. And it was raining on top of it all. There was none of the beauty of a pristine snowy morning. It a morning of grays and cold and damp. The worst. I resigned myself to the reality of slogging my way to work.
I shoveled and moved the slush to keep the rain water from seeping into the garage. And as I made drain paths down the driveway in the pouring, ice cold rain I kept thoughts at bay since there were no positive ones.
I can drive in snow and even find it kind of a fun challenge. I can drive in rain and usually my only annoyance is when people don’t slow down enough and I have to deal with their bad driving. But I have grown to be terrified of ice. I don’t care how many wheeled-drive you have, nothing is going to help you on a sheet of ice. Luckily I didn’t have to deal with that. Yet.
The drive to work was a mess. Lots of rivers of water on the roads and I watched the potholes growing before my eyes. After having to slow and/or stop for flooding and showers of slush as cars flew by the opposite way I finally made it to work.
My new waterproof boots have paid for themselves this winter as I tried to avoid the deepest of the puddles and slush. I got into the building, grabbed the shovel and ice melt and cleared the walks and ramp there. At least it wasn’t pouring anymore. Just a bone-chilling drizzle.
Finally, I got inside, soaking in the warmth of the heat, ready to have a nice day, only to hear that we were now under a Flash Freeze advisory. I don’t remember hearing that one before. Now people were rushing to get errands done before everything freezes. The kids were sent home early from school. The roads were still mini rivers. And my stress level was growing.
My wonderful boss lives a block away and said I could leave early. She would stay for the rest of the day. I secretly felt embarrassed at my cowardly fear but I wasn’t being proud that day. I left.
When I got in my car the thermometer said 35. Good. By the time I had driven only a few feet, the wind was gusting and the temperature dropped another degree. Now I just wanted to get home as quickly as I could. All I could focus on was beating the ice.
There was a lot of traffic in the usually sleepy rural area I drive through. Apparently word had gotten out and I wasn’t the only one hoofing it for home! The roads were marginally better than the morning but I was still busy keeping out of the deepest water and dodging the ever-growing potholes.
I reached the worst part of my commute which is a large, long, exposed hill that always drifts with snow, fills with rain water or freezes instantly. I felt like a reverse downhill skier dodging the obstacles all the way up. I made it to the top and the temperature was now 33.
Then something wonderful happened.
There was a slight break in the clouds, the sun came out and my eyes were drawn above to a huge flock of Snow Geese. The sun was reflecting off of their bright white feathers, which were glowing and sparkling. They were flying against the gusts of wind, together as a beautiful community. The sudden bright light of them was breathtaking with the sky behind them almost black. I felt as if I had been given a wonderful gift. I kept sneaking quick glances at them while also keeping an eye on the road.
I felt my tension ease and I made it home safe and sound. Just ahead of the ice.
I am one of those people who believes in signs and always tries to find the meaning of things. I think things happen for a reason if we only choose to look and see.
Because I love the meanings of things I had to see what Snow Geese meant. The first sentence in a book I have about such things says, “This is a time of good fortune, so be receptive to and appreciative of all the good things that come to you.” And the last line says, “Even though it may not always appear to be so, you’re very well protected.”
I was. And I am.
I also try to find the good things in a day and yesterday was a dark one. Not only the weather but just trying to find my happy place inside.
I feel I was given a gift of beauty and life and hope. How perfect was that message?
I went through a typical evening and got into bed to read. By now I was very tired and trying not to think about the next day. I just needed to relax and sleep.
I decided to read Mary Oliver’s book “Why I Wake Early”. I find comfort in someone else who notices and enjoys the gifts of Nature and Life. I read two poems, turned the page and what was the next poem? Snow Geese! And her amazing words perfectly matched my experience earlier in the day.
What an amazing gift for me. I read the poem over and over again. And I just reread it now.
It doesn’t matter where or how gifts like this arrive. What matters is that I am open to receiving and appreciating them when they do.
And I am grateful.