We’ve been busy decorating all week, inside and out, and the house is ready for the holidays, and for the long winter. It will all go dark tomorrow, when we leave in the very early hours for the airport and our trip to Santa Fe and Colorado. The waves have been crashing at night with the front moving in, and there was a snow squall this afternoon. The first real snow is forecast to arrive in the night and it could be one of those epic adventures to the airport at 4:30 a.m., driving through blinding snow in total darkness on a two-lane highway, studded with deer. How many of those we’ve endured in the twenty years we’ve lived in Montana! Just driving home from town at 5pm yesterday, dark and spitting snow, all the fears about our treacherous road came to sit next to me in the front seat. Each year, I have to get prepared to face them head-on. I understand why people leave in the Winter. My father always told me that as I got older, I would find I needed to leave.
But, at nearly 70, I’m still here. I would really miss December. There is something about the rush to get home before dark, turn on the Christmas tree and get a fire going, and close the lace curtains to the foreboding black outside the windows. And, there’s always the chance that snow will silently fall in the night. Even when you have to drive to the airport in the pitch dark.
“You wake up on a winter morning and pull up the shade, and what lay there the evening before is no longer there–the sodden gray yard, the dog droppings, the tire tracks in the frozen mud, the broken lawn chair you forgot to take in last fall. All this has disappeared overnight, and what you look out on is not the snow of Narnia but the snow of home, which is no less shimmering and white as it falls. The earth is covered with it, and it is falling still in silence so deep that you can hear its silence. It is snow to be shoveled, to make driving even worse than usual, snow to be joked about and cursed at, but unless the child in you is entirely dead, it is snow, too, that can make the heart beat faster when it catches you by surprise that way, before your defenses are up. It is snow that can awaken memories of things more wonderful than anything you ever knew or dreamed.”
― Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale
P.S. It’s now 12.05.16, 6 a.m. This blog helps me keep honest with myself, and I did not post the entry after I finished last night, just in case I was fooling myself about waking up on a winter morning. Well, it was epic–snow plows had not even made it out on much of the road getting here to the airport. But, we made it, and the child in me is clearly not dead.