Winter's Gift

07 February 2024
Sr. Cheryl Rose

Winter's Gift

It’s a Snow Day!! One of those blessed blessings when Earth, our wise mother, says definitively:  “STOP! Don’t go to the office—or school, or mall.  Unchain yourself from your world of BUSYness and endless activity. STOP!!”  The urgently delivered weather reports prepare us for a winter STORM warning—preparing us to cancel our outside duties and burrow in for even a foot of snow!  Roads are readied, pantries are stocked, and homework papers tossed aside by happy students (and teachers) as our local world hunkers down.  And so, I sit wrapped in a warm quilt, heeding the calling off of everything, and give thanks for Earth’s wise mothering. 

Such soft activity…steady action…silent, wordless, constant falling snow.  It’s mesmerizing.  It’s comforting—like a gentle white blanket lovingly laid over us all.  The “storm” lessens, almost stopping, and we see how benign the scattered flakes are.  Then minutes later—a whiteout!  I’m stilled by this silent flurry.  I’m lulled by such quiet contemplative activity.  I sink into the comfort of this sacrament, this winter anointing of wonder.  The sacred words of this anointing?? "STOP your incessant activity, your wearying work.  Be still and watch.

Breathe this refreshing pause from your frantic pace.  Don’t plow your way through.  Don’t brace against this snowfall.  No “fighting” this storm.  Surrender to this rare display of heaven’s blanketing, swaddling of Earth.  Your brother and sister creatures watch, too, from their caves and dens.”  Something whimsical about the dancing white fluff!  Who knows the secret restorative power of the Snow Day? 

The next day—a slowly stopping snowfall.  The winter “storm” is hushing to a winter whisper.  Scattered flakes alight weightless on my porch rail.  There’s a wisdom here, a silent tutoring of how to be a contemplative.  Deep lessons have been shared on the discipline of STOPPING mindless racing, and unnecessary, compulsed doing.  The heart slows down, the pulse rate mellows, and the human doing becomes a human being. 

Earth, our mother and teacher pours out the oil of contemplation, anointing us with the truth that there is nothing out there to frantically pursue, accomplish, or fix.  Nothing to gain, nothing to lose.  The Soul has all it needs.  

Tempered and healed by the Anointing of the Snowfall, I feel calm and quieted.  And I rest in the wise words of Abraham Heschel: “Just to BE is a blessing.  Just to live is holy.”