Cinnamon mocha in hand, I stare out the wide living room windows, out into our quiet street. The afternoon sun glistens on the snow in the few places it is untouched by the strict city mandates. My husband’s snowman still hovers at the corner of our sidewalk, his head a little thinner and more lopsided than it was last week. I worked night shift the night of our first real January snow, and Ben kindly chauffeured me to work and home again, and then dug out our sidewalks while I slept. At least, I thought he was shoveling sidewalks… “Are you sure you weren’t watching me out the window?” he asked me about twice, after I woke up. I assured him that I had been sleeping, that working night shift leaves you much too tired to watch even your husband shoveling sidewalks. When we went outside later that day, I realized what was on his conscience. A 10.5-foot snowman stood poised to greet me. The bigger the boys, the bigger their snowmen, I suppose, and 10.5 feet is not too much for a roofer with a ladder. The neighbors loved it.
Winter is here, with all of its chilly mornings and frosted glory. Ben goes to work in the cold, bundled head to toe, and we shiver when we leave our cozy nest early in the dark and crisp air of 5:30 A.M in January. We celebrate it too—wintry walks, snowy picnics, and ice-skating with mittened hands clasped.
The other Sunday evening we were longing for some fresh air, so we bundled up and went in search of a trail, up in the woods above the city. We settled on a blanket on the snow and sat close, sipping from steaming mugs of hot chocolate. A candle illuminated our little feast—very little—a few fiber balls I had grabbed from the fridge.
Our biggest celebration of January, though, happened this past weekend. We reached the big anniversary of 6 months. We have anniversaries every month, and usually do something to make the day a little special, but a sixth anniversary calls for something even more special. To celebrate six months of marriage we tented out in the snow at 13 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is not something I probably would have agreed to 6 months ago on that beautiful July day when we were married. But something happens to you, I guess, when you start learning how to love and live with someone so different from yourself. It’s a good thing when you find your horizons expanded and realize you are excited about things that you would not have been before somebody else slowly changed your viewpoints.
We set up our little camp-site before dark, right above a stream that gurgled between icy borders. The snow cushioned our tent and our many layers of insulation. Standing guard were the stately pine trees. It was beautiful.
Inside the tent, before bedtime, we drank hot tea with mittened hands and sat in a nest of blankets and sleeping bags, watching our candle-light flickering around us. We nestled in zero-degree sleeping bags that soon became warm and drifted off to sleep.
I cannot say that I didn’t get a little bit cold around the edges during the night, but I will say it was not worse than most camping experiences, since they tend to get a little chilly and clammy in the middle of the night. This time, at least, everything was too frozen to be clammy.
And my fearless woodsman started a cheerful little fire when we had to crawl out of our cozy sleeping bags and into the icy morning where our breath froze in clouds. We sat quite cozy as we ate our roasted sausages and watched the world get lighter, reflecting the rising sun off the white landscape around us.
God makes all things beautiful in His time—relationships, tragedy, and winter. Saturday evening, when we went on a little walk in the frosted wonderland, I shivered a little in the biting cold.
“The trees don’t shiver,” I mused aloud as I looked at the stately forest standing barren and still, holding limbs upright. “The earth doesn’t shiver; it just accepts the cold. And it’s so beautiful.”
I recently heard emphasized the importance of bearing fruit when it is time, of also accepting the times when it is not your season to appear prosperous.
Winter, I think, shows us how to do that, and how beautiful God can make all seasons of life.