“The Snow Forgives Us”

snow in backyardSeveral inches of snow blanketed the ground and it was still falling as I drove to the Wednesday evening fellowship at Jeanne’s house. The forecast called for 8-10 inches by midnight, and I believed it. But suburban Detroit is virtually bereft of hills and S-turns, and the large fleet of salt trucks with their huge plows were clearing the main roads.

If you grew up in Detroit, as I had, you probably never fretted about driving here in snowy weather. You learned to drive cautiously and pay extra attention. If you did, most likely you would get there, and back again, on the flat terrain. And you remembered the enormous salt mine under the sprawling city.

I expected the usual crowd at Jeannie’s spacious house, despite the snow storm, and wasn’t disappointed. She lived there with her very cute, precocious 4-year old daughter, Heather. Fifty to sixty people could worship and fellowship comfortably in the large basement. I parked my rusty old Chevy 4-door a block away and crunched along through deep snow, which was everywhere sparkling up at me from the ground.

Sometime during the worship or preaching – I don’t remember why – I left the basement and went back upstairs. Nobody was there. But as I crossed the dimly lit living room, I saw Heather standing in rapt silence by the large sliding glass door and looking out into the backyard. I quietly approached to have a look myself at what had captured her.

What a sight met my eyes! So unlike what I had seen when driving to work twelve hours earlier.

It had been a grey, glum, damp morning. The snow storm would not hit until the afternoon. I was shown lawns yellowed in dormancy, awaiting their green spring. Sidewalks cracked through neglect. Cigarette buts stubbed out and flicked aside. Fast food debris discarded along curbs. City streets were dank and depressed, unable to hide their ugly look from the countless cars and trucks that had been dripping oil on them for years. It was the world sans snow, showing all its flaws, injuries, and human detritus.

But, now! Standing silently alongside Heather, neither of us saying a word, I saw snow, gorgeously white snow, covering all the ugly, indeed, all earth itself. It was still coming down.

Millions of big snowflakes falling gently, dancing past the bright outdoor lights that lit up the backyard. They glittered and twinkled like I imagine the wings of angels will sparkle with colors when I see them.

I too now gazed rapt. This was another world. Not just covered but adorned.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” I finally whispered.

“The snow forgives us,” she said.

©2017 by Charles Strohmer

Image by David Pinkney via Creative Commons.