Write In Between

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Sound of Snow

I was standing at the edge of the woods as the first snow came to New England… everything somewhat stilled, peaceful. And if you lean into it, there’s a very specific sound you cannot escape if you listen closely… one part hush, and one part something else…it’s almost mystical. New Englanders in snow country know what I mean. And maybe you know what I mean too. The sound is such that if you are distracted, you’d miss it. Nevertheless, the aural presence is there, even if you don’t acknowledge it. It’s the sound of snow.

Granted, we all know snow by itself doesn’t really make a sound… what I was really hearing was the gentle intersection of snow touching the boughs and pine needles of the nearby conifers. They, of course, are also incapable of making a noise—unless they are moved by a force outside of themselves.

As I walked, I observed the path of individual snowflakes… (Did you ever do that as a kid? Try to follow where a snowflake lands?) I saw that individual snow flakes can actually land and cling to the tiniest pine needles and find their way into the recessed interiors of pine cones—penetrating cracks and crevices with ease—transforming little dark places into white.

I kept “listening” to the snow as I continued to walk my dog, who was by this time straining at the leash to get back indoors. But my heart was really in the moment, transfixed. I looked up into to the sky and whispered a little prayer of gratitude to the Lord of All Creation. And then I “heard” it…

This is what grace sounds like.

No, no audible voice. Just a moment’s reflection that I continued to ponder.

I went inside and prayed some more. Does grace make a sound? Only when it moves us… like a force from outside of ourselves. It is we who make the sound in response to it. Like the thirstiest pine needle at the end of a long branch, or the smallest dried up leaf shifting in the wind.

And when we encounter a moment of grace, we know it. We catch our breath. Sometimes, when grace touches us, we laugh; often we weep. But always we stand in awe of such a gentle touch that could move us so deeply. That a drop of grace is… enough. As if we are surprised that the same God, who would ordain a tiny flake of snow to find a resting place within the darkest recesses of a prickly pinecone, would allow a drop of grace to touch, and abundantly redeem, the exact internal need we carry.

Indeed, our voice should sing of our thanksgiving, for that is the truest sound of grace.

Snow comes from the heavens to the earth, where it melts and eventually runs into streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. The earth responds to this watering by bringing forth life in a harmonious cycle. Grace, too, comes from our Heavenly Father. When it touches us, it always transforms the landscape of our lives. So our lives can be given over, once again, to abundant-life flourishing. That is the holy cycle He intends.

So, the next time snow falls, if you are so fortunate as to be in northern climes, imagine the graces that are falling, and have fallen, on your life. And take note of grace’s gentle action upon even the darkest parts of your life.

As you ponder, let grace divulge to you its heaven-sent secret—that God truly came to earth one winter’s night. That God became a Man that we might be transformed by His grace—that by the power of God-with-us, we are given the power of God-in-us through His marvelous outpouring of grace.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to one and all!!!

[A blog break is currently in progress... until after the New Year... Peace be with you!]

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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  • Wonderful post Pat! I love the silence of freshly fallen (or falling)snow and the analogy to God's grace falling in the same way was a message which I needed to hear. May the remainder of your advent season be just as peacefilled and grace filled. Enjoy your snow! Peg

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:40 AM  

  • Beautiful imagery. I've always lived in a non-snowy climates, but I do remember on my one and only ski trip, coming down a hill in the gentle snow and feeling tremendously peaceful. It's one of my favorite memories.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:52 PM  

  • Hi Pat,

    It's snowing right now and it is beautiful!

    Happy New Year!

    By Blogger Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, at 9:52 PM  

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