False Hope – 02/18/2022
It happens each winter; it can even happen several times in a blessed season. For a day, or maybe even two consecutively, winter will loosen its tight grip on life. Today is one of those days.
As is often the case, such an abrupt change in the temperature means that some kind of weather front is moving through. That sometimes means rain showers instead of snow, but it most certainly means there won’t be gentle breezes; instead, the wind will be stiff and steady. Today’s wind ensured that my gloves stayed on even though the air temperature was well above freezing. These days never feel quite as nice as the weather forecasters happy chatter seem to promise. They are reluctant to take the blame for the storms and hard days of winter, but they are only too happy to take the credit for a day of thaw.
Yesterday a doe and her fawn passed through the back yard. Even with good weight and sharp hooves they did not break the concrete hard crust of the now icy snow. Today, a gray squirrel leaves tracks as he visits the birdfeeder.
The cardinals started to sing this year’s territories last week. They were singing in yesterday’s single digit morning, but their song seems better suited to today’s warmth.
My morning walk takes me past a large field where last fall’s stubble is now poking out of the snow cover. I pause to look out across the open space. It looks bleak and barren. Suddenly, several hundred snow buntings rise up. They make an arcing half circle of flight across the field, tightly bunched. Almost synchronized, the flock undulates just a few feet off the ground like a metaphor for the Spirit of God that hovered above the primal waters of creation. The flock rests, seemingly swallowed by the far horizon.
The sun almost melts through the grayness of the sky. I can almost see some azure and for a moment I feel a bit of warmth upon my cheek and I have to squint as I gaze upward. But the gray quickly thickens again and the azure is gone as if it never existed.
It is supposed to refreeze before sunset and winter will squeeze life hard again tomorrow. Some will feel cheated that spring merely teased only to vanish. But nature is always honest. There is no such thing as false hope.