Winter has hit with a vengeance with snow closing many roads, airports and schools, and then an ice storm blanketed us during the night, resulting in significant tree and power line damage and over 100,000 homes without electricity. We’re feeling pretty fortunate where we are farther north–the ice damage was less, though it is persisting in our 9th day of sub freezing temperatures. We awoke to to a 1/2 inch of ice coating everything, and it remains unthawed, creating hazards everywhere.
It is conditions like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, firestorms and silver thaws that remind us how little control we have over our environment and how much control it has over us. Being unable to walk anywhere outdoors that isn’t coated with ice is a humbling, helpless, feeling. Yet I’m grateful for the reminder of our helplessness. We dwell in this often hostile world and try to steward it, but we adapt to it, not the world adapting to us. We cannot stop the frozen rain from falling, but must wait patiently for the southerly winds to blow.
In fact, the warming is coming. Only 10 miles to the south of our farm, the temperature is a full 20 degrees higher, the ground is thawed and the ice is gone. When I listen out our back door to the south, I can hear the frozen trees in our woods knocking their branches together in a noisy cacophony as the south wind warms the ice, and chunks drop from the branches, clattering and clacking their way to the ground. From stony frozen silence to animated noisemakers with a steady puff of warm wind.
At times I am iced over as well–rigid in my opinions, frozen in my emotion, silent and cocooned in myself. That is when the approach of warmth from a touch, an empathic word, or heartfelt outreach breaks me free. Perhaps a little frostbitten around the edges, but I am freed again, warmed by relationships with friends and family and a host of virtual acquaintances from around the world.
I’m ready for the coming of the warm wind. It is well worth the wait.