Monday, November 5, 2007

Thankful For: Seasons in the Snow

I have a little rug that lays on my hardwood floor in my room next to my bed. I put the rug there so when I kneel to pray in the winter time, I don't have to kneel on the cold wooden floor. Even with a baseboard heater in my room, when temps dip down into the minus teens and twenties, and the eastern winds are howling across the fields and driving the snow into the side of the house, it can get mighty cold in this old place. I've heard stories of those who live in the eastern provinces where it gets much colder than it does here. Some of those people keep their winter gear right on their beds so that they can dress warmly and in multiple layers, before they even get up. I'm sure glad it doesn't get that cold here. (Or I'd be in Florida frolicing with the gators!)

I'm sure that when this house was first built, and for many years afterward, it was as sturdy as they come. A hundred years ago they knew how to build these old farmhouses to last for generations to come, and they knew how to keep them warm. Over time however, the insulation has worn away in some places and there are some cracks here and there where you can actually feel the icy wind coming through door jams and windows. We've done our best to seal it all up, but there's only so much you can do in a 120+ year old farmhouse.

When I got up this morning and my feet hit that little rug, I knew it was going to be cold today. It wasn't cold yet, but something about the way it felt just gave it away. I think part of that may be my bones getting to that point where they can accurately forecast the weather.

Before I ever came downstairs this morning, I had thankful thoughts. I'm so thankful that we have wood to heat this gigantic old house. So thankful that friends and family have taken it upon themselves to donate enough wood for us to get us through at least until after the first of the year. Thankful that the Lord has held back the really cold weather until now, so that we haven't had to use any of this wood yet (it might even last through January, since we haven't had to use it yet). Thankful that we have lots and lots of blankets and sweaters so that we're able to keep toasty warm when it gets so cold that a fire in the furnace doesn't seem to be quite enough. Thankful that we don't have too many days like that, as it has to get into the minus 30 and 40 degree range for that to happen.

For the first time this season, we have snow in the forecast. The way I feel about wintertime is rather odd, since I love it and hate it at the same time. I hate it that I can easily get so cold that my bones hurt and the only way to stay warm is a bath so hot that the faucet is turned to hot only, and all the way to the highest temp. But I love to watch the first snow fall (or any snow fall, for that matter), I love the way the snow covers everything with a soft blanket of pure whiteness and muffles the sounds outside. I love the way the Christmas lights look at night when the light twinkles and reflects off the snow. I love the way the house smells as I pre-prepare several holiday items such as pies and cookies (Darlene Johnson's molasses cookies are a sure fire way to make your house smell amazingly inviting!), old fashioned candied walnuts, fudges and various other things. So as much as there are parts of winter I truly hate, those are the parts of winter I absolutely love, and am quite thankful to be able to experience every year.

So bring on the snow, Lord. You've prepared us for it by putting a spirit of generosity in the hearts of those closest to us, that gave us the wood. You've provided for us with all these warm blankets and fleece pullovers. You've been overly merciful in giving us all the right attitudes when the power goes out (often) and the generator kicks in to keep the fridge, water pump in the well, and furnace fan running. Nothing else works in those times, but the things that we need the most, are the things that work. For all else, there are candles and laterns ready for use.

I think I'm ready for winter.