A month after the solstice, it now feels like winter has arrived with its cold and snow. I have started taking daily walks in the past week, rousing myself from a sedentary routine where I was not getting outside much or getting regular exercise. My walk usually takes me to the city parks by the river.
When I cross the river on a footbridge I stand and appreciate the water flowing below me. I’m amazed that the river flows so deep and strong at this time of year. One day this week I noticed that ice was beginning to form on the edge of the river, extending about three feet from the bank. Looking ahead on the path, I saw someone else also going for a walk, and as I watched he picked up some snow and threw it onto the ice. I thought he was trying to punch through the ice, but the snowball splattered on impact, sending snow exploding and skittering across the ice to disappear into the flowing water.
“That’s cool!” I said. It was so fun and beautiful that I had to try it. Like a little boy, I threw the snow again and again, hearing the smack of snow hitting ice, the skidding sound of snow sliding across ice, seeing the pattern of white snow on dark ice.
It is tempting to stay inside and warm during the cold and snowy days, but the reward of going out in the winter is precious. I bundle up, I walk briskly, and I try to take what is offered—beauty, serenity, or just a break in the routine of my time indoors. I’m grateful that I’m able to fit this into my day and that my body is able to do this. I’m grateful for the winter, the snow, the river, for my chance companions on the path, and for the joy of the little boy within.
Spirit of Winter, hear this prayer.
Spirit of the North, snowy owl, wisdom of the elders, be with me now. May I be open to the wisdom of winter.
May the simplicity of winter show us what we need to see, a figure against the white background of snow.
The forest sleeps and we move through it alert and silent, like a hare. May we be alive to the wisdom of winter, within and without.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
Rev. Andrew Frantz
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