The problem with naming this column “Cultivating Glory” is that we can’t rush cultivation, even though I am a little bored of winter themes and worry about boring my readers, too.
A life of cultivation follows the curve of the seasons, the way a plow follows the curve of the earth. And there is no speeding up the movements of sun and stars and spinning globe. They are listening to some other voice than mine.
I have written about rest, about dreams, about stillness, about waiting, and sick days. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I want to move on to some other topics.
How about more doing and a little less being??
Yesterday, the answer was snow. No school for the kids, little time for work for me, and the promise of more today.
Once again, I am given more time to be. Less space to do.
That is the meaning of winter, and winter has not yet ceded this territory.
I remember once reading in one of my gardening books that snow was called “poor man’s fertilizer.”
I’m not sure if snowflakes really do carry minerals and other earthy goodness (though I love the image of snow as a kind of manna), but every cold-climate gardener I know longs for the stuff. Surprisingly, the cold and the wet protect vulnerable plants. It is a cozy snow blanket around the not-quite-hardy roses. It protects the soil, too. With a cover of snow, there is less freezing and thawing, less heaving and disruption of vulnerable roots.A northern garden loves nothing more than a cozy layer of snow.
For the farmer, for the gardener, it is a good gift.
For four kids released from school, it is a good gift. Even for my husband, forced to trade a business trip for endless card games with the kids, it is a good gift.
Is it also a good gift for me?
Pray for rain in the rainy season. It’s a strange notion, but essentially that’s what we read in Zechariah 10:
Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms.
He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone.
Ask the Lord for rain in the season when rain is given. Ask the Lord for snow in the season when snow is given.
This morning, I tried it. I can’t be exactly sure (it probably takes a great deal more practice to understand where a particular practice will lead), but today I asked God for snow while the snow fell. While I prayed, the phone rang. Apparently school is closed again today.
We tend to think of prayer as an asking. But what if it is primarily a receiving?
Today, I am receiving snow, and I think that means I am receiving–with gratitude–the good gifts of this particular season. Yes, they are accompanied by melting snow on the wood floors and a snowball fight that ends in a real fight, and a scramble to get my work finished. But aren’t those irritations small compared with more rest, more stillness, more beauty, and more fun?
Thank you, Lord, for the good gift of snow.