“You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers and bless its crops.” Psalm 65:10
In Texas last weekend, the temperature edged up to ninety degrees, the air light and dry, the sun almost piercing. Although our winter has been almost as extraordinary as last year’s summer—remarkably warmer than normal—adjusting to the heat of the Hill Country took some doing, although we didn’t work all that hard at enjoying it.
Before we left, we’d heard predictions that some scrappy storms were heading to the upper Midwest, so when our plane came down in the Twin Cities, the chilly tunnel to the gate area was a frosty reminder being back home. Snow had come down heavily throughout Minnesota, and swept down into Iowa, northwest Iowa, building considerable drifts along the highways, where there had been none when we left.
Someone shoveled our sidewalks, which was a blessing. But that was Tuesday. Today, out my basement window, the snow is falling again, piling up into its second inch this morning already, more on the way. Last night the weather guy suggested, grimacing, that what we’ll get today will only prime the pump for what will alight come Monday, when, he claimed, we’ll likely get a blizzardy foot.
The thing is, it’s already late March—well, mid-March anyway; and we’ve had such a long stretch of sweet balminess through January and February that it now seems a kind of double curse to get hit so hard when, really, we might be looking for a crocus or two where the sun beats down on the south side of the house. But that’s life on the plains, I guess, where as I’ve said a thousand times, weather always comes in spades.
We’re probably a month away from that in-between time when seed corn starts a rustling in the bag, as my father-in-law used to say, anxious to get settled in warm, moist earth. But that time is a’comin’, and we’ll just have to grab the shovels a few more times before the white stuff is, once again, history, and the air begins to take on the ambience of the fecund earth all around.
Most of us would have felt, well, less than deserving had we simply slouched into tulips and daffodils. One of the great joys of living in a place where annual temperatures have a 100-degree variance is the sheer bliss of seasonal deliverance. Spring just isn’t Spring! if it doesn’t march in like a liberator at the end of the war. All this snow we have, the snow we’re getting, and the mess we’ll come heir to in the next week will turn the grace of our eventual, April deliverance feel like a corn belt Mardi Gras.
And sometime in July, when the temps soar to 100+, the land will be thankful for March snowstorms and the sallow mantle of life our snow bestows on farmland that never gets quite enough to drink. When we’re wearing sandals and tank tops, the land will remember.
If King David is right—and I think he is—it’s comforting, even here in the basement, sitting in a thermal black turtleneck I pulled from a stack of cold-weather clothes that hadn’t been touched all winter, it’s comforting to know that the snow falling gently now (the wind is coming later) is God-ordained, his gift to us and his land.
Outside my window, the snowfall is really kind of beautiful. Maybe I’ll go out with the camera. Really, it’s that pretty.
And soon enough, it will be gone. That too is a blessed thought.