New snow had fallen silently during the night. The darkness had hidden its coming and concealed
its true beauty. Although unwitnessed,
the signs were there to read. There had
been a brief snowburst, and then the clouds had departed as quickly and quietly
as they had come, so that the sky was now clear. Conditions
were perfect for snowfire.
I noticed it in the predawn as the darkness waned and
the bluing of the horizon in the east spoke the promise of new day. I had risen early, like most days, and
stopped to look out the kitchen window toward the bird feeders. The juncos and chickadees were already
flitting between the feeder and the tree limbs, seemingly anxious to begin the
day. I set the coffee to brewing and pulled
on boots and coat, grabbed my mittens and headed outside to clear the
It wasn’t much as snowfalls go – maybe an inch or slightly more, but it was enough to kindle the snowfire. It was dry kindling too; it was the kind of snow that any bit of breeze could puff back into flight like so much dandelion fluff.
The sun seemed patient as it didn’t strike the
snowfire until it had climbed well clear of the horizon. Snowfire doesn’t spread, rather it spontaneously
ignites across your view all at once when the sun’s rays hit the snow at just
the right angle. I pause to notice and
to wonder whether the crystals of that dry snow are more multi-faceted than a
wetter snow as the snow sparkles so intensely now. It is as if each sparkle is itself a tiny
piece of sun caught and held fast there in the snow – held fast and yet still singing
like an angel chorus, not to every morning, but to this particular moment of
this particular morning – here/now.
The snowfire, now fully ablaze, does nothing to lessen
the tingling sting of the cold, stiff air on the back of my hand. I blow into my hands and pull my mittens back
on. Even if the sun itself is bright, it
still feels cold on my face; it seems like a frozen fire in the frigid of deep
winter. Still, the brilliant glisten of
this morning warms my heart and any heart that takes notice of its beauty. It is beauty that is intended to be noticed;
it is a gift shared by a generous God.
Work done; I pause in gratitude. To
pause, to notice, to be grateful is itself prayer.
“My heart is ready O God; my heart is
ready. I will sing and chant praise.”
Snowfire inspires the heart, and an appetite for a hot
cup of fresh coffee. I head inside as
both are ready now.
His Peace <><