Like many in late autumn, I dreaded the coming winter. The coming dark months loomed more ominous under the shadow of COVID 19. Oddly, however, I have found that the last month or so to be more endurable than I was expecting, and in fact, pleasant in some ways. I am mindful, however, that I move through this pandemic with a significant amount of ease afforded by my station in life, etc.
The winter has brought a balm and it has come in the form of cold and snow. I grew up with strong winters that are rarely seen in southwestern Ontario. When our family first moved here for me to attend graduate school, we were looking forward to milder winters but soon found them to be dreary when there was no snow on the ground, and no sun to be seen. But this winter has been different. The last month and half, or so, has seen consistent weather below freezing with plenty of snow and sunshine. The weeks have been brighter and time spent outside has been vivifying, for me.
Yesterday I made my way to the local municipal golf course and strapped on my skis. There was a recent dusting of snow and so the trees, fences, and bushes looked as if they have been touched by a paint brush, which magically managed to sneak enough rainbow into the white to give my soul some hope. The golf course affords me the opportunity to ski alongside an open creek for time, with ducks nicely ensconced on still open water, their bills safely hidden in the warmth of their wings. The sun was strong, and a kind of perfect balance of warmth and cold obtained. It was really quite magical.
The last few times that I have headed over to the golf course, I have been surprised at the number of cars in the parking lot. Nordic skiing has become exceedingly popular this year, being a safe outdoor activity in a time that precludes Alpine skiing trips, journeys to the Caribbean, et cetera. As I left the parking lot yesterday after an invigorating ski, I wondered whether this would continue in the future. I suppose it depends, in part on the weather in coming years. There has been many years when the skiing has been pretty thin, with snow falls being undone after a day or two by rain. This year the snow and cold has been generous, and has given me a little solace in this pandemic year. Of course, I will look forward to spring’s arrival and have enjoyed the longer daylight as we slowly approach the spring solstice.
Again, I know that my experience is only mine. Others hate winter, no matter the conditions. Recently friends way south of the border have been blasted by weather nearer the temperature of ours – but without the insulation, and winter tires, and clothing needed to navigate truly winter weather. I cannot imagine them sharing my joy. But I find some balm in the rotation of the seasons. It reminds me that life moves along, and this COVID 19 time too will eventually be behind us. Time can be a healer and a source of hope both. As the season pass the baton I am able to reminded that the scriptures I call holy speak of both mundane and revelatory time. Sometimes, in the midst of the tedium of the pandemic, this very mundane reality of winter can become revelatory and hope slips across my field of vision – now as a duck floating on a mirror of the azure blue sky; now as a rainbow dressed in winter’s snow on trees ever green.