From These Hills
with Trendle Ellwood
As I write this I am sitting by the woodstove with a pile of fire warming hickory logs beside it, waiting for what is hopefully the last snow of winter, which might or might not arrive. Our new weather alert radio came on yesterday for the first time ever, jarring me with a Severe Winter Storm Warning from the National Weather Service predicting an accumulation of up to 6 inches of snow with possibilities of ice, sleet, and or rain. At first it was to arrive at approximately eleven then not until four. The temperature is holding and it is simply raining at nine p.m.
On the last weather radar update I looked at online, we are circled in the area of uncertainty, in what they are calling a very complicated storm and it states that everything is liable to change. Sounds like life to me, uncertainty in a very complicated storm where everything is liable to change at any given moment. Often I ask God, “How are we suppose to live like this?” He doesn’t offer me a rope out, but shows me an anchor.
It finally started snowing here at one a.m. From our windows the next morning we could see that a heavy, wet snow cloaked every shrub and tree. Off Jim and I took on a short drive down to Clearcreek to witness one of our favorite places on earth, with a fresh face of snow. The sky was clearing and it had stopped snowing, but as we stepped out of our car, we soon discovered that in the area around the creek, accumulation was still in process.
The snow did not fall from the sky but from the trees. The temperature was rising and all that had stuck to limb, twig and hemlock needle was now liquefying, losing its grasp, sliding down to splash on the ground in globs of melting moisture. Some great swaths of snow were plunging down with such a vengeance that we proceeded cautiously along the trail, scanning above before crossing below. Among all the splatter sounds the snow made as it hit the ground the whole area gurgled with the saturation of water. The overflow turned into rivulets that gathered together and cascaded down through the rocks and crevices of the hills to unite with the creek below.
We had to pull our hats over our heads for safety and tuck our cameras under our coats, drying them off between pictures, as we walked through the baptism of the forest. We came to the incline on fern trail and had just risen from the hemlocks and the forest rain when I turned around to look back from where we had come. The sun, perhaps for the only moment that day, came out in full and as I looked back on the eastern hemlock trees, their graceful branches bending towards the cove I was captivated to see that they were sparkling with color. The moisture pockets in the tree branches caught the light of the sun and reflected it like crystals. They were twinkling prisms of color more beautiful than any ornaments I have ever seen. Like stars, like God winking at me.
Grandson and I talk about how we can tell God anything and He is always listening and we can learn how to listen to Him too. Then somehow the subject of my hair turning gray comes up, (maybe it was because I was looking in the mirror wondering why my hair had to do that) and the boy asks me if God has anything to do with my hair turning gray. I tell him with a sigh, it is nature for babies to grow into young people who turn to middle age and finally grow old. “Are you middle age?” He wants to know.
Yes, I am middle age, I tell him, secretly wondering if I am old. The boy is silent for a few moments before he looks at me and says, “I talked to God and he said there isn’t anything he can do about your hair turning gray because it is nature's fault.” This made me laugh, and think like they say, from the mouths of babes. I can hardly believe the boy has grown from a babe to a boy and time is going so very fast! Can the time to plant really be here? Yet I do look forward to daffodils and I am happy to hear the flocks of grackle birds as they meet up in our maple tree on their spring excursions.