In a place like Tennessee, the weather is usually sporadic enough that you can have a new topic of conversation each week. It’s bitter cold one week, mild the next, icy after that, then slushy but manageable, on and on. This consistency is enough to make a weekly update a bit difficult when the camp is still relatively quiet. It was cold again this week, and it snowed again. “Yeah, tell me something new.”
There is a general grumpiness begining to surface all over the place about this winter we are having. When people walk in the doors you are likely to hear desires for the end of winter. It is sort of like a puppy, I guess. Those first few times with the puppy, he is cute and adorable. He’s fluffy and clumsy, and everything he does is so innocent and new to behold. But, by the second week or so, the realities of the puppy take center stage over the cuteness. You are cleaning up what you might have referred to as “uh-ohs” last week. You aren’t calling them that this week. A week ago, you might have said, “Oh look honey, he’s playing with your sock. Isn’t that adorable.” You aren’t saying that this week when your sock has a slobbery hole in it. Nor are you too excited, when at 4:00am you are waking up to let the dog out or hearing him bark when the heating unit next door comes on. You ask yourself what on earth you were thinking, hoping that this thing be a part of your life.
And, so it goes, with the snow. If a winter goes by without one, we feel short-changed. But, nothing is completely wonderful, cute, picturesque, or other positive type of adjective. We have gotten it out of our system now. We’ve made our snowman, we’ve taken our pictures, we’ve looked up and the sky and spun around like we’re in a movie musical. Enough, already.
Corky is outside the Administration Building, spreading salt and shoveling snow out from the drive, to possibly prevent any accidental ice-skating just before you enter the office. Martha decided she did not want to try to drive back up the hill this evening to get home, so she walked down to camp this morning. Travis commented on how this particular snow would be good for sledding. On the hill next to the Administration Building, there is a fairly clear slope that goes down to the soccer field/prayer labyrinth area. I can remember winters past, when we got out and sledded down this hill. We did not have sleds, so we used mail trays that were left over from the last bulk mailing. This hill was just tall enough to give you a scare and make the most timid bail out before reaching the bottom. I remember one evening as it got dark, sliding down the hill in a mail tray and wiping out at the very bottom, just before the woods began. I layed down on my back, almost submersed in the snow and looked up at the stars. The cold wasn’t an uncomfortable cold–it was near pleasant. I wondered if I could sleep there, bundled up, surrounded by snow and stars.
This snow has been different from the last one. The last one was very powdery and light. This one is a bit slushier and heavy. The snow stuck to the branches, and as you walk through the woods, the trees look like they are made of crystal. It is a strange world to walk through–one you don’t see for most of the year. I hope that it is melted away enough by next Friday that our group can make it in. Reality says that if we don’t start getting groups in, it will be difficult to pay the bills and keep this place running. Reality says that those icy roads tend to deter visitors, and probably for good reason. But, a snowy world is one best enjoyed as a more fantastical world. Not a world of deadlines and necessities–a world of wonder. A world of frozen sillouetes that look nothing like you’ve seen all year. Snowmen and snowballs and all sorts of fun. The thoughts that you might even just lay down for the night and rest in this cold powdery blanket, because it is so foreign and exciting. For just a little bit longer, I’d like to hold on to these thoughts.
May God bless you wherever you happen to be snowed in.