Note: This poem is about renewal. It was prescheduled, so it is NOT about current events. Snow is snow, which is quite familiar in New England. As I would like to improve the poem, please comment with any suggestions. (And please pray for my country.)
Come midwinter, feet of snow are on the ground
and the rooftops, buildings and people groan beneath
the weight. The first stormings broke trees, their
dismembered limbs still lying at odd angles
in the engulfing snow. Shrubs and gardens, once lush
with bright exuberance, now lie stripped and lifeless
beneath a cold, thick shroud.
We seem to start our days with less fence posts and pathways,
with vaster emptiness and narrowing roads. As the snow continues to fall,
the whole world seems to be silenced beneath a white pall.
Resistance is man’s, for soon metal instruments come out
in digging and flinging, scraping slush, chipping ice,
the grey fuming machines snort and grumble, roar, push, and blow.
And the snow, mild, yielding, moves with the metal and gearings,
the snow wistfully gives even to the eager fingers of a child —
but it will not be destroyed.
We lose our grip as our vehicles slip and slide and crash, getting stuck
in the piles, trains grind to a halt, schools and businesses shut down,
and all of life seems to be about the weather and what it’s left behind,
Every human being has an opinion on it, for none
who call this place home can avoid it;
some call it a curse and see it as burden, punishment,
a breaker of hearts and wills — while others
will see its awe-inspiring beauty and call the snow
a wonder, a delight. It is a character shaper, an amusing ordeal
that our days should be encumbered and our slumbers
surrounded by snow and the snowing of snow.
The innocent and the adventurous among us
are the rare who enjoy this Winter burden,
delighting in ephemeral snowflakes and slippery hills.
The usual response, however, for those who are grave,
is a whining, a longing, a grumbling desire, a need to return to “normalcy.”
Snow is relentless.
Here for the Winter it is, unstoppable, invincible…
until the inevitable Spring. Then, our hard burden
of snow, against which so many of us have fought so fiercely,
will simply melt into the ground. And the dormancy
of the natural world will awaken then, refreshed.
The hosts of furry animals in burrows, the roots of forests,
the shoots of woodlands, and the seeds of meadows
will have rested well beneath quilt upon quilt of fallen snow,
safeguarded from the brutality of cold air all the Winter through;
when the snowflake covers are pulled off, layer by layer,
they will rouse, exposed, now risen to life again.
The once indomitable snow will trickle and flow, softening
the Earth, cleansing away looseness and debris, feeding
our thirst for burdens eased, for mercy, and for life freely
in bloom, seeing us through the mud to the warm, heaving splendor
of summer days, hot and ripening, the extravagance
of tender new life putting forth a rich variety of blossoms
in every color and of insects and animals, flying and creeping
and leaping in the sun. The heavy burden of snow
will become the heavy blessing of snow —
for from it comes the burgeoning of flower
and fruit, bright, beautiful, and bountiful.
Snow is a heavy blessing to bear.
How many periods of our lives are dormancy?
A weight of stillness,
a wait of stillness,
a heavy burden….
And how many periods of our lives are an awakening?
The heavy pall laid upon us, not to keep us in the tomb,
but to allow us a miraculous newness of life….
In the Winters of our lives, those times when our normalcies vanish
like walkways beneath the snow, and we are weighed down with burden,
the Master of snow and grace calls us in the midst of the darkness
to allow the stillness and look around us,
to open our minds to wonder, to see beauty and learn patience,
to receive the quiet and listen to our souls,
enfolding us in the sure and generous mantle of hope,
feeding the good roots of our hearts, nourishing our faith,
keeping us warm in the core of love that will not die,
helping us to carry the burden with those who resist,
leading us into a new day made thus deeper and richer,
imprinting our memories with this heavy blessing of snow
when comes the Spring.
© 2021 Christina Chase
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Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.