Some people love the winter weather as snow builds a playground filled with skiing and sledding cheered on by snowmen and decorated with icicles and drift-sculptures crafted by the wind itself. Ice skating on the pond and an old-fashion sleigh ride pulled by two gentle horses paints a romantic portrait for those who love the beauty of winter. Fireplaces providing the flames of warmth, mugs of hot chocolate topped with an inch and a half of marshmallow ministering to the body with steamy joy, and toasty socks and slippers caressing the feet with threads of fabric sunshine create smiles on the faces of those who embrace the blessings of the frozen tundra and the snow-capped slopes.
If you are one of these beautiful people, I love you and admire you but I am not one of you. I tend to be negatively impacted by the long, cold, gray winters of Ohio. This past week we had such cold weather that many schools cancelled classes all week…temperatures in single digits and sometimes below zero. Next week promises to be colder yet. When I get too discouraged I check the temperature on top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire (Friday at 6:00 the temperature is -14 degrees with a wind of 43.7 mph and a wind chill of -49.3 degrees). This puts Ohio weather into a little better perspective.
As I was parking my car in the garage this evening and making a dash for the warmth of my house, I caught an imaginary breath of spring and thought about how refreshing it will be on the Appalachian Trail in April. I absolutely love the warm breezes of spring. They fill my lungs with the smells of life, they lift my spirits with wings of newness, and they brush my face with promises of sunny, cloudless skies. Breathing in the air of April and May energizes my legs and inspires my mind to walk on top of mountain ridges and experience the hand of God. The sun of June, July and August calls my name and invites me to sing praises to the Creator of it all. I am reminded of the old German Hymn written in the mid 1700’s “When morning gilds the skies, My heart awaking cries: May Jesus Christ be praised!”
There is much winter left to experience and I hope I can embrace the cold with snowmen on my heart, the Olympic Games on the TV, and hot chocolate in my mug. The Green Tunnel (one of the nicknames of the A.T.) awaits and winter gives me a prime season for reflection and preparation.