Sunday, December 28, 2008

Snow on Snow on Snow

For some strange reason, I've had the words to "In the Bleak Midwinter" running through my mind. Ok--really just the first line, and then I had to go look up the rest so I could figure out why in the world such a bleak song became a popular though slightly haunting Christmas song by Christina Rosetti:
In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen,
Snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.
I love that line--snow on snow, snow on snow. I experienced that firsthand in Utah last week. I swear it snowed every single day. Part of me loved it--the part where I was safely ensconced in my mother's safe blue house, watching the snow fall, busying myself with last-minute Christmas preparations (I made a LOT of aprons and little sock creatures over the past couple of weeks). I loved feeling gently covered and safe.

Our God, heaven cannot hold him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign;
In the bleak midwinter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God incarnate,
Jesus Christ.
But then there's the flip side to snow. I do not love the ice and slush and danger and fear of sliding and losing control on the road. I regret the dirty mess that follows the morning after. And I loathe the vulnerability of exposure and cold.So I guess really it's a love-hate relationship. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. What you burrow through becomes your backbone. Right?

We embraced the snow. Well--my brothers always do--I love watching their delight in skiing the powder. This time, though, we took my mom cross country skiing for her first time. We took Josh's Jill's dad with us. The fresh air was invigorating, and after an initial "incident" (think of Deb's experience on Y Mountain... nothing else will be said), I felt alive. The bright white, the crisp air, the green pines and exposed rough bark of the aspen, the tracks of the snowmobiles--they all filled me. We had a great time--Ben and Josh always make me laugh. My mom loved the experience.
Enough for him, whom Cherubim
Worship night and day
A breast full of milk
And a manger full of hay.
Enough for him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
which adore.
Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But his mother only,
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.
I gave in to the snow. I exposed myself to it. I protected myself against it and I drove in it (of course I had to drive my brother's girlfriend's car on unplowed freeways to leave at the airport, and then the car window got stuck down with all her life's possessions in the car and a swirling snowstorm and three feet of snow in the economy lot). Snow on snow, snow on snow--you roll with it and play in it and drive in it and live in it. It covers you and warms you at the same time it freezes and fights.
What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him —
Give my heart.
P.S. Back in DC, 70 degrees yesterday, nary a flake in sight...


Laurel said...

i have to say that I feel like I missed snow in MO...just warm weather and tornado warnings. Ah, CHristmas!

loved this post and loved seeing the rest of that song. "Snow on Snow" and "bleak midwinter" have new meaning now.

It was SO delightful to see you, Reeder. You are a gem. A very rare gem.

The Wyler Family said...

i'm so jealous! i love cross country skiing. it looks beautiful. way to be resourceful... and keep those y mountain references to yourself. :)

JJ said...

Wow! That looks like a storybook Christmas! Just keep DC warm for me...I get back wednesday!

Dani said...

I loved this post too, Jenny. You are amazing. So deep and thoughtful, evidence of a rich life. And a reference to Deb's experience to keep it all light. :) Hee, hee. Oh, Debbie, Debbie, Debbie.

You're amazing, Ridere. Glad you managed to escape the snow...I'm ready to be done with it myself.