All my life, winter sat at the bottom of my favorite seasons list. Autumn, by far holds first place in my seasonal heart. When I wrote about my love of Autumn in this POST, I received many comments from readers about their favorite seasons. Winter popped up more than I expected. Since then, I kept an open mind about winter, determined to learn what made it unique in the eyes of others. Though inchoate, my winter journey of discovery begins with the treasures of the snow.
Winter offers more than snow, and with joy I have imbibed not only the beauty, but the mystery of winter so far. I credit an email discussion with my brother for an astonishing realization of the beauty of each and all of the seasons. His comments on winter hauntingly companion my thoughts these days. While discussing Autumn, which likewise holds first place in his seasonal heart, he delightfully described each season’s own uniqueness.
the treasures of winter
As my brother spoke of winter, it seemed as though I saw it for the first time through his eyes. Join me as I listen yet again.
“Perhaps oddly, I see winter as the beginning. The vibrant life
rendered during the preceding seasons surrenders itself to nourish
that which will come yet again. Winter may be the most noble of all
the seasons. It is a time of sacrifice. How can there be life without
death? We cannot even feed ourselves unless something dies. This
being said, winter is not bleak to me. It comes with its own unique
beauty. I particularly love the stillness present beneath the high
gray ceiling of clouds just before a snowstorm and then the snow
covered leafless trees after the snowfall.“
My oft meditations of his words quoted here, developed a longing for understanding this misunderstood season. Considering the expressed pleasure of his walks on even the coldest days, I resolved to start there. At the outset, I esteemed the walks as a bit of an endurance test. But to my astonishment, after a short time, I eagerly anticipated each day’s outing. In fact, I relished winter’s daily invite so much, I added an evening walk.
For one who has eyes to see, winter proffers a quiet, noble beauty. A beauty few linger to appreciate. The eyes that once saw barrenness, caress views of placidity, the reposeful stillness of work at rest. Gazing upon the remnants of the once living, I am reminded new life only awaits the beckon of spring’s call. While we wait for the vivid colors of spring to appear, winter bestows magnificent layers of browns, grays, and whites. The perfect backdrop for glimpsing cardinals at the birdfeeder!
Continuing my winter meditations, I stumbled across a Bible verse not unfamiliar, but one void of much attention by me. Traveling through the Bible chronologically, I visited the Book of Job. Towards the end of the book, Job has the disconcerting privilege of receiving his requested “answer from God”. God proceeds to ask Job a series of questions designed to show God’s omnipotence, omniscience and magnificence. Job appropriately concludes he “spoke without knowledge” (Job 34:35) and “repents in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). But among the many questions, God asks during His inquisition of Job, He asks, “Have you entered into the treasures of the snow?…” (Job 38:22)
Without going down a rabbit hole, the word translated “treasures” in the KJV, is translated “storehouses” in other versions. In old English, a better word was “treasuries”, which indicated a place where treasures or valuables were “stored”. This is consistent in the Hebrew. God appears to imply in the passage the existence of hidden, or stored “treasures” related to snow. After an exhaustive study of the words, I inaugurated a search for the “treasures of the snow”. The completeness of my education on winter must include this gift unique to the season.
The Treasures of the Snow
There is something magical about a snowfall. As my brother mentioned above, a stillness announces the coming of this treasure. No one dare deny the majesty of a pure fallen snow, as it clings to the trees and sparkles in the morning sunrise. But is its splendor intrinsic only to its appearance? Come, enter into the treasures of the snow with me.
Snowflake fun facts
- Snowflakes are not frozen water vapor. They are actually ice “crystals” . Each crystal has a nucleus of either pollen or a dust particle, around which ice begins to form.
- All snowflakes are hexogonal; they all have six arms.
- Over 35 distinct categories of shapes of snowflakes currently exist.
- Snow is a natural sound “reducer”. Air gets trapped between the crystals muffling acoustics. The apparent quietness outside after snowfall is not your imagination.
- Snow is a tremendous insulator. Made of 90%-95% trapped air, it helps animals retain their body heat. It’s reported that igloos using body heat for warmth can be 100 degrees warmer inside than outside!
- The same insulation effect protects bulbs, ground covers, strawberry plants and perennials from freezing. It also protects the soil from freezing, protecting tree and shrub roots.
Watch this breath-taking video using time lapse photography and computer animation to explore the science behind one of God’s most beautiful works of art.
have you entered into the treasures of winter?
To truly enter into the treasures of winter you must approach it as it is, not as you wish it to be. Mindfully viewing the season as God created it, fully experiencing winter with all of your senses. As I set aside my preconceived notions of winter, I encountered it in a fresh way. Freeing my awareness to embrace winter just as it is, opened my eyes to its mysteries, magic and beauty.
God, the Master Artist, created each season with its own intrinsic beauty, color palette and function. Each season showcases His glory in unique ways. Yes, winter is the noblest of seasons, for in its strength of sacrifice to forge new life, it portrays the Greatest sacrifice ever made.
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