Redeeming Winter

I thought of this title yesterday afternoon as I went for a ski. I am not a serious skier, but an eager one. Had I more time, I would strap these magical sticks to my feet more often. Given the amount of snow we have had this winter, readers might well imagine that I have spent a lot of time out skiing this year. Alas this has not been the case. It is either too cold to ski comfortably (below 20 degrees Celsius) or warm and snowing buckets of white. Alternately, it rains. Yesterday was the first day in the New Year when the stars aligned and I got out. It was glorious.

The snow has been sculpted by the wind, and as I made my way westward, cresting a hill of our local golf course, I looked down and imagined myself floating across windswept waves frozen in time. The crust of the snow looked exactly like an ocean’s break upon the shore. I suppose at some point, each molecule of water I skied across had one day crested across a shore somewhere, sometime. And the hard water that bore my skis today could vey well one day buoy my boat, and water my plants, and bathe my body. But today it struck a pose, frozen for a time.

I love to ski, but it always begins with an uphill battle. There are tasks: getting changed, prepping the skis, driving to the golf course where I ski, etc. But once I get going I feel good, very good about the decision. I imagined, yesterday, as I skied, that this experience redeems winter. There is something about getting out – especially for something fun – that reorients my attitude to winter. I appreciate its ponderous beauty in a new way, feeling included in it. Winter is no longer the enemy.

I like the ambiguity of the word “redeeming’ in my title. We can understand it verbally and imagine that winter is redeemed. But the word can also serve as an adjective describing winter: winter is a redeeming season. This too is true. Winter is the time of earth’s rest, and an invitation to all of us to slow down. The other day I was visiting with friends and we recalled rural stories of slower times in winters past. Not only the earth was rejuvenated, but the inhabitants she hosts, too, were renewed. This is lost on too many of us, and I suspect that many people’s distaste with winter has to do with unacknowledged loss of the gift of Sabbath.

Well, I always feel better after having gone skiing. This is true for so many things in life, things that are good: for us, for our beloved, for the earth. And with so many of these things we discover that curious grace, or promise, written into the logic of creation: listening to the cadence of creation is to encounter the wisdom of the Creator, calling us to be, to observe, to accept enough as enough.

8 thoughts on “Redeeming Winter

  1. Marie Taylor says:

    Winter is very much a healing season whether the weather that accompanies it is snow, rain or sunshine. I love that ‘seed-like’ quality of waiting and preparing, and at the same time peeking out now and then.

    • agjorgenson says:

      I sometimes wonder what winter would be like apart from the kind of weather change we experience. I really do love the weather change, but suspect that I would be enfolded into a different, and equally rich, rhythm in another locale.

  2. diannegray says:

    It’s so good that those stars aligned and gave you the opportunity to get out and enjoy he best of what winter brings 😀

  3. shoreacres says:

    Isn’t it funny that the expression “enough is enough” has almost universally been transformed into either an argument-ending phrase, or something used by irritated parents to put the brakes on their children?

    And isn’t it just as thought-provoking that our time could just as easily be described by the phrase, “enough is never enough”? To be able to experience “enough AS enough” is a great gift.

    No skiing here – although even saying that reminds me of a funny, true and just slightly “off” postcard I once brought home from the Salt Lake City airport. It says (with all apologies), “If God had meant for Texans to ski, He would have made b***s*** snow!”

    But how I well I know the process you describe. Going for a hike in this cold weather can seem an insurmountable chore. Once past the dressing, the driving, the pulling away from obligations – it’s pure joy. Thank you for the reminder.

    • agjorgenson says:

      Yes, enough is never enough pretty much sums up CEO salaries etc and the hordes of people who aspire to such opulence. Mon Dieu, what have we done?

      Thanks for the funny from Salt Lake City! I’ll leave it up to the Texans to exegete that one.

      It is interesting that you mention hiking as another example. I remember hearing a lovely sermon once about a similar experience with swimming. The preacher then artfully tied it to baptism etc. It seems the best things in life always start with a little bit of an uphill moment, and then the joy!

  4. jannatwrites says:

    It sounds like you had a lovely time outdoors. I’m glad you were finally able to get out and ski! I can relate to the idea of preparation being enough to almost keep us from having the experience. I find, too, that if I overcome that, I’m always glad I did 🙂

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