January 26, 2023
Mid-winter in the north can be a challenge to the spirit. Day upon day extends the story of
overcast skies. Seemingly endless gray that presses silence down upon the soul can lead one to
literally ache for a glimpse, even jut a brief glimpse of blue; even a single shaft of sunlight to
pierce that sullen ceiling and let in just a quick breath of life within my chest.
With snow again blanketing the ground when I walk out past the big fields to the west it seems
that the distance to the horizon is less and less. It becomes difficult to confidently discern the
snowy fields from the clouds.
Last evening, I needed to clear off a couple inches of fluffy snow from the driveway. The
snowfall seemed determined to thwart my efforts and it restarted shortly before I finished. The
thick clouds hid all starlight; even the blackness of night seemed more of a gray, and with the
swirling snowflakes hampering my vision, my world seemed quite small.
Yet, there can also be a certain pleasantness in the midst of all this gray. There is a softness that
you can see and feel.
True, sunshine feeds the heart. But it is also true that bright sunshine can squint the eyes and
bring emotionless tears that freeze on my cheeks.
The price of winter sun is high. These are the days of searing north winds that numb fingers and
drive ground cloudbursts of snow crossways all day and night, building crusty drifts that can tire
the deer that have to make their way from feeding to bedding areas. The turkeys too will find it
more difficult to scratch for last fall’s acorns.
Clear night skies are deep and sprinkled with stars but they leave the night blanketless and
shivering. The sun, though bright, seems to struggle to climb into the pale blueness and it is
unable to provide any warmth to dispel the tightfisted frigid that grips the day.
So, gray and blue both have their challenges in winter. I pray for a heart that can embrace both,
especially these many days of thick, endless clouds and soft skies.
I believe I shall see the LORD’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD, take
courage; be stouthearted, wait for the LORD! Psalm 27:13-14