Rainy with a Chance of Hope

Rain poured all night long. Thunderstorms make for sound sleep, but not this kind of rain. Sounded more like a flood.

I woke up several times during the night. Yep, it’s still raining. Made me feel restless.

When I finally decided to crawl out of bed and get my coffee, the sky was dark and gray. Still raining.

No lazing around. My husband and I had appointments for COVID tests this morning. Not exactly how I would have chosen to start the day, but necessary. (Feeling fine. 🙂 I will update later.)

About the time I was dressed, he said, “Look outside. It’s snowing!” Heavy white flakes were beginning to mix with the pouring rain. By the time we reached our test site, the precipitation had changed. No more rain. Just beautiful fluffy snowflakes!

I watched in awe of this lovely gift! I could feel a change in my spirit as the rain changed to snow- a perfect picture of this year that is about to end.

Yes, there has been much heartache. But there is still hope. And today, it comes in the form of countless snowflakes, each an original, falling from the sky to blanket the world outside.

Frozen Blossoms

Three days
Had passed
Since the snowfall
First in seven years
Glistening drops of
Magic remained
Though much
Of the snow
Had melted
One tree
Stood tall
On the side
Of the road
Proudly wearing
Its Fall colors
Accessorized with
Frozen white blossoms-
Thankful to have
Caught a glimpse-
By the next day
They had disappeared

I so enjoyed the snow last weekend. Mesmerized, I watched as the snowflakes fell, covering everything in their path. It felt like a gift, a fresh start. I am hoping for more snow this year. Next time, I might have to make a snow angel. 😉

A New Word

There is little more precious than experiencing joy through the eyes of a child. It adds more than happiness, another layer of contentment.

However, this week, I experienced the phenomenon on a different level. And this level requires a new word.

Thinking back to when my kids were young, several events come to mind. Times I was able to see and feel their joy. Viewing star clusters and planets through Uncle Larry’s high-powered telescope. Fireworks displays on the Fourth of July. Their first time to experience snow.

I can picture them all bundled up in coats, hats, and gloves. Red glowing on their little faces. Also, of course, the plastic grocery bags covering their feet. The kids still chuckle at that one. I like to think of it as being resourceful. We did not get snow often enough for snow boots. 😉

Just this week, we had our first significant snowfall in seven years. Many little kids were building snowmen and sledding down neighborhood hills for the very first time! However, it was the reaction of a young adult, two actually, that caught my attention.

My daughter’s boyfriend, Mike, happened to be visiting when the snow arrived. Rachel has experienced snow. Mike had only experienced it one time when he was two years old and had very little memory. This was like his first snowfall. At least, that is what his reaction said.

Seeing that white powder outside turned him into a little kid once again. Excited, bundled up, and ready to explore. Such happiness and joy! Not to mention wet clothes from immediately falling into the snow to make a snow angel.

Yet, this is not the joy requiring a new word. No, this has more to do with being a parent, witnessing your own children’s reactions to others. I felt it as I read Rachel’s tweet later that same day.

“In the midst of an incredibly trying year, watching Mike experience snow for the first time in his life brought me so much joy today.” ❤

Rachel is a high school special education teacher in her second year. She is beginning her long-planned-for career during a global pandemic. “Incredibly trying” is putting it mildly, but she is doing amazing things despite the situation.

Something about her reaction struck my core as a parent. Hearing her describe her own joy over watching Mike play in the snow was powerful. Knowing that she recognized how magical such a simple thing can be…made me feel?

Well, here we are again. I still need a new word. For this is more profound than joy and greater than pride. I will continue searching while this feeling plants itself deep in my heart.

Uncommon

Snow is not a common occurrence in Oklahoma. The expectation brings a collective holding of breath. Adults become like little children, waking up all hours of the night to see if the snow is falling.

Today is one of those uncommon days. I was awake several times during the night. At first, all was still and quiet. Doubts began to creep in…the forecast was probably wrong anyway. And then I heard something hitting the roof.

A quick look outside brought disappointment…only rain. According to the forecast, it should be changing to snow in another hour or so. I would hold my breath a little longer.

Finally, the transformation from rain to heavy snow began! It didn’t take long for the grass to turn completely white. Snow-tipped evergreens now graced the backyard. And the snowfall looked like it would last forever.

What is it about snow? It has the power to transform the faded colors of winter into a magical wonderland. Snow makes me feel like a child again-at least in my heart. But most of all, it is a reminder that when all feels bleak, the uncommon gives hope.

In the Bleak Midwinter Kelley Morris, piano

Transformation

Moonlight shines on
Snow-covered grass
Afternoon clouds
Long dissolved
Giving stars their
Chance to shine
Pulsing through
The darkness
Feathered birds-
Cheerful melodies
Now quieted-
Nestle peacefully
Inside their nests
While the fox
Ventures out to
Gather food for pups
Sleeping in the den
I am tired, but
The moon shines
Snow is calling-
Do I snuggle in
Like the birds
Or venture out
Like the fox?
Wisdom says
Sleep can wait
Give witness to
The transformation

Snow Day

Today was the perfect snow day. An announcement was made last night that there would be no school today. That meant no need to set an alarm!

The sound of sleet falling woke me up around 4:00 A.M. Of course, I had no trouble going back to sleep. Our dog, Poppy, was the next to wake me up. Her trip outside was quick, and it was back to sleep again.

Poppy’s little paw prints. 😉

Around 7:00 A.M., I decided to make some coffee. This time, snow was falling! The grass and trees were covered with a beautiful white blanket. After a hot bowl of oatmeal, another cup of coffee, and a check of the news-it was time to go back to sleep.

That is the beauty of a snow day. It is certainly not something I can do on any given day. But when the opportunity arises, I don’t pass it up. The truth is, I repeated this coffee/sleep/news process one more time. Minus the oatmeal, of course.

The snow is such a beautiful reminder of fresh starts. Everything gets covered. Given a chance to rest. In a sense, forced to rest. To put away the responsibilities and worries of the day.

Beautiful snow, beautiful trees.

Yes, they will still be there tomorrow. But the extra physical rest may be just what I need to approach them with a clear head. Perhaps see them from a new perspective with renewed energy.

But for now, it is still a snow day. And I think it is time for a nap!

Cloudy with a Chance of…

A multiple-choice question concerning Oklahoma weather might read something like this:

What was the most likely weather forecast for Tulsa, Oklahoma on January 17, 2019?

  1.  Snow
  2. Thunderstorms
  3. Wind Advisory
  4. All of the above

If you answered number 4, you would be correct!  Oklahoma is known for sudden weather changes.  A common saying here is-If you don’t like the weather today, don’t worry, it will be different tomorrow.  During the month of December alone we have experienced tornadoes, spring-like sunshine, and cold rain.  But what about that snow?

Snow has been in the forecast several times this winter.  This very week, as a matter of fact. So far this winter, only a dusting.  Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to be stuck at home with 10 feet of snow.  But is it too much to ask on these cloudy, damp days for a covering of white? Maybe enough to build a snowman.

Lately we’ve had more cloudy, dreary days than sunny ones.  Gray skies with cold rain falling.  The kind of days which make me feel blah. Yes, I know its winter, but would it hurt the clouds to part and allow the sun to peak through?  I either need some sunshine, or I need it to go ahead and snow.

There is something refreshing about snow. Everything simply disappears. The dead winter grass and mud from recent rains are covered by a fluffy, white blanket. Even though the covering is temporary, it provides a fresh start. A fresh start for things in nature and a fresh start for my attitude.

Once again, the snow which has been in our forecast for tomorrow, this entire week, has disappeared. I must admit I’m rather disappointed.

So, what is the forecast for this weekend? Cloudy with a chance of…your guess is as good as mine! I’m still holding out for snow. 😉 Even though it just started to thunder, pour down rain, and hail. That’s Oklahoma!

Blanket of Snow

What is it about snow?  There’s a crisp excitement in the air.  Kids are laughing and smiling.  This beautiful white precipitation is a rare occurrence in Oklahoma.  And when we do have snow, it’s usually at odd times.  One particular year it snowed on both Halloween and Spring Break!

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Today was one of those days.  November 12-Fall hasn’t even officially arrived yet.  A little early for snow, but I’ll take it!  I smiled the entire drive to work this morning.  Those beautiful white, magical flakes floating in the air, blanketing the ground. My spirits were lifted, and there was a pep in my step that’s been missing lately.  I found myself stopping to look outside at every opportunity, snapping pictures.

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I wonder why snow has this effect?  Maybe it’s a reminder of clean slates, fresh starts, second chances…forgiveness.  Things we all need at different times in our lives.  Experiences which blanket us with peace and contentment.  Experiences which give us hope for each new day.

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And just like that, the snow is gone.  Will that pep in my step disappear with the melting snow?  Possibly.  Or perhaps I will allow the memories from today to stay with me, reminding me that tomorrow is a new day.  A day full of possibilities with chances to start over or try again.  An opportunity for forgiveness where needed.

The stresses of this life can be unexpected and overwhelming.  I don’t know about you, but I find myself needing that blanket of calm more and more often.   If we stop and watch the snowfall, no matter how brief, just maybe we will find that peace we so desperately seek. Remembering the impact created by that beautiful blanket of snow.