Why Not? Dave Smith
I drove for quite a few miles, miles lost to time and immune to huge flakes denying clear vision. I ease into a wayside, a happy break from the winter joy ride and a spot to get out and feel the youth of it all falling on me. A slight slope beyond the guardrail flattens into an expanse of pristine white and small whirls of drifts. About 20 yards to the east an oval-ish protection of pine harbors poplar, brittle and leafless bushes, and dying box elders which support vines of kudzu entangled through the branches. Flakes cling to my hair and eyelashes while others slide in wet drips off my waterproof parka. No, no gloves – this moment must be youthful and foolish. I must forget the leaf pile of years and capture now, just one more time through the senses and senselessness of long ago.
I, at best, lumber over the rail and stand tall. I slough my feet through the unmarred slope to level ground, turn and face the wayside. “Yea, I can do this” and do it I do. Arms tight to my sides and bow legs as tight together as possible, I silently and stiffly plop back first into the snow. Exhilaration pokes down my open collar, cold grabs each hand, and laughter makes no sound to the emptiness of ears save my own. Angel time! Now snow sneaks under my belt as I carefully rise, take a step or two left, and do it all over again. After all, an angel needs a mate in this kind of weather! I make a new trail to the trees, get down on all fours to face the laden boughs hung low, hung into the hollow beyond. I crawl under and in, pants damp, hands colder, and laughing harder at the nonsense of “anything for a think.” Everywhere I look dribbles white in a freefall of this way and that, of just a little bit to a wind nudged chunk. My writer brain won’t allow telling words like “beautiful” or “wondrous” – I must word paint and create the think intended by the spirit enjoying my visit.
Box elder branches, stiff and unyielding, web-like in the twining of kudzu, provide a leaky roof at best. Gusts find little success in breaking through knitted pine branches. An hour has quickly passed and the snow eases to tiny flits just out there, outside the pines. Now just plain cold, I crawl out and head to the car. Naw, I didn’t have boots either. Gonna be young by golly be young – and a bit stupid. “I’ll turn the heater on full blast with floor vents open wide – kick off the shoes and socks, no harm done.” I backtrack to minimize marring on this blanket, say a quick farewell to snow angels touching wings and being a little plumper than in my youthful efforts. Over the rail, into the car – heat! In this warming sit, contemplation drifts through the past hour, the minutes gone, but the happy-silly-melting-snow-dribble-down-my-pants-cold-hands-hatless-bootless-craziness alive in all of me.
An upcoming Bible study on having the “faith of a child” comes to mind. I wonder if this past hour creates a metaphor for faith renewal, for re-locating the trust in God’s will found in putting all concerns in His hands? I so easily let my worries drip into chills and cold when, if I but see and hear the Holy Spirit, they will warm to God’s love and hope – warm with His grace. My feet thaw and I ease the Ford onto the road. Hints of sun seep through cloud cracks and I know the winter sparkles and diamonds of everything ever written about these moments will soon appear. Sometimes, once said becomes good enough. Tonight, I’ll pray the prayer of my childhood in the faith I have found in recent years.
And all God’s people say, “Amen.”