When You Wonder What the Winter is Good For

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It’s so cold here. Just so cold. Today the wind blows the snow from the trees and everything is still the whitest white and I’ve been staying inside much more than I care to admit. I’ve got these daydreams that keep me warm. I’m there at the camp lake with my kids. They’re playing in the shallows and  hunting for shells and tadpoles while I’m sifting sand through my toes with the sun on my cheeks. I’m smiling in my daydreams. And I’m warm. Toasty warm.


About this time every year I start wondering why in tarnations I moved to the north country and what the winter is even good for anyways.

But, I’ve got this friend who strings wooden beads in her hair and paints with hemp and she tells me that there are so many good things about the cold and winter. This friend who grows herbs in the spring and digs up roots in the fall, she tells me like she really believes it–how everything has it’s own season, and the cold is for tucking in and being more still and quiet and for making art. She says it’s when the creatives get all creative. And then she reminds me, as she leans down and points outside, to the evergreens, that those pines are there to remind me that life is coming again. Green, verdant, growing life! She’s got eyes like Jesus and she doesn’t want me to lose heart.


So, we’re making art around here. And though there’s not much life going on out there in the great outdoors, we’re coming alive in here, and we’ve found that corn starch mixed with food coloring and a little water makes a mighty fine paint.

We keep getting messy, but that’s okay, because in the process we’re making something beautiful and as we’re dabbling in colors and dumping and refilling paint water, we’re enjoying each other here all together and close. We’re building new things and reading new things and letting new kinds of music inspire us.  Yesterday, I introduced the kids to Bach and Mozart and they painted for nearly an hour while I made grilled cheese sandwiches and danced with Samuel on the linoleum, between the sink and the stove.


Hopey shows me  her page and I praise her work, with huge gasps and overly shrill shrieks even though I can’t tell exactly what it is. To me, it’s sheer brilliance just because she’s my girl and she’s enjoying her life. All this joy wells up within me, just getting to watch her create.


And I wonder if God is like this, too, as we go about our day building and imagining and composing and playing. Does joy well up in His heart, too, when He sees His kids enjoying their  lives before the light of His face?


The wind outside is rattling the chimney and they’re calling for more snow over the next few days. So, we’ll just keep taping up pictures and finding new ways to craft and create. We’ll read books and play games and huddle together and grow close.

Because that’s what the winter is good for.


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