Saturday, January 16, 2010

Forty Two with a Seventy Percent Chance of Rain

Forty two with a seventy percent chance of rain, that's the weather forecast for this week following the new Milk Moon. It was the forecast for last week, too. And next week. Yup, it's January in Portland, Oregon. We don't even get the excitement of a blizzard, or a flood (though those could pop up), it's just rainy and grey all week long. My dog walks are almost always in the dark and I've taken to hanging up my outdoor pants with the dog towels by the door because they are usually muddy up to my knees. My car is starting to smell musty from the wet dog in it so often, and the trees and ferns in the park just look water logged.

Winter Song
by Katherine Mansfield

Rain and wind, and wind and rain.
Will the Summer come again?
Rain on houses, on the street,
Wetting all the people's feet,
Though they run with might and main.
Rain and wind, and wind and rain.

Snow and sleet, and sleet and snow.
Will the Winter never go?
What do beggar children do
With no fire to cuddle to,
P'raps with nowhere warm to go?
Snow and sleet, and sleet and snow.

Hail and ice, and ice and hail,
Water frozen in the pail.
See the robins, brown and red,
They are waiting to be fed.
Poor dears, battling in the gale!
Hail and ice, and ice and hail.

This is the time of year when winter really starts grating on a person. The glitter and joy of the holidays are over but spring is a long, long, long way away. It seems like the trees and birds and squirrels are all resting, but I have to keep getting up every day and going to work. It makes me feel pretty gloomy. I have learned that I don't do well if I totally fight against the gloom, nor do I do well if I completely give in. I can tend towards the phlegmatic in temperament and so letting myself just sit on the couch, eat ice cream, read and sleep all winter is a bit too tempting. At this time of year I need to strive for a good balance between honoring my body, and the season's, imperative for the renewal of rest, and finding reasons to celebrate and hope until nature comes marching in with blaring flowers and brilliantly sunny days.

Last winter I wrote a little about hope and learned that the deadly sin we call sloth was originally called despair. Despair was thought of as the refusal to enjoy God's goodness or the inability to love God with all one's heart and soul. So then that means that hope is the act of loving God with all one's heart and soul, despite the grey and wet, despite the unemployment statistics, despite the images coming out of Haiti. How audacious! But that's our job in these dark days of winter. We need to start looking for signs of spring in sprouting daffodils and crocuses, signs of hope amid disasters and signs of hope in our own lives.

What is getting you down this winter and how are you buoying yourself against it? What is the most beautiful, hopeful, delicious or glorious thing you've seen or heard recently? How do you keep your house and car mud-free?

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