In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on!


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Winter Wonderland

For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth . . . ~ Job 37:6

And so it was--by the foot! This weekend saw the biggest one-storm snowfall total in the Rochester area in three years: depending on your precise location, 12 to 18 inches (I think we had about 16 inches in Brockport), and more in the hills. Of course, that isn't nearly what our neighbors to the . . . south have had in the last few weeks! Go figure. And my wife Melany is talking about someday moving south to avoid all the snow! She might want to rethink that one.

Anyway, once it stopped falling and blowing around, and we were able to drive Bigfoot up and down the driveway a few times, the snow made for some beautiful pictures. The one below was taken beneath a canopy of snow-covered branches on the tree that overhangs our driveway, just in front of the garage.

And here's a closeup of the fascinating lattice-work formed by those branches:

There is a race that suffers in winter far more than we do: the deer. They're a more common presence in these parts than rabbits. The woods, and even the nearby college campus, seem to be teeming with them. Backyards adjoining wooded areas are regarded by them as mere extensions of their feeding grounds. It's like living amidst herds of wild horses galloping about everywhere.

How do animals that big run so fast through the thickly tangled undergrowth? I've seen them leap over fallen trees and hang almost motionless in midair. Many people consider them pests, and they can be a danger running across roads or, every once in a while, into a house. I, however, look on them as beautiful, gentle creatures just trying to survive and provide for their children in a difficult world. It's a breathtaking delight when they wander into our back yard and come right up to our house to nibble on the bushes.

I guess I should be angry about the damage they sometimes do--few things are uglier than denuded bushes in the springtime around one's house--but I can't help feeling sorry for these noble animals. It's sad to see them pawing through the snow on a frigid, windswept day trying to find a few dead leaves or sticks to eat.

Just this afternoon Melany and I watched a young doe struggle from the woods through heavy, wet snow up to her shoulders to reach a bare spot under a pair of pine trees in our back yard. There once was a blanket of dry leaves and small branches under there, left over from fall raking, but the deer pretty thoroughly consumed that before this one arrived. Then she forlornly dragged herself back through the snow and into the woods. Melany had me take a panful of cracked corn out to the trees after she left, in hopes that she and her fellows could reach it again. Within the hour, they were back!

Is this not an allegory for all life in this world, including our own? The deer have only the generosity and providence of God to sustain them, and humbly endure whatever challenges come their way. We "higher" creatures, on the other hand, take great pride in our own ingenuity, and many dismiss the whole idea of God as unnecessary and irrelevant to their lives. That is, until some disaster strikes, like one of the earthquakes that have recently devastated Haiti and Chile. Then they rend their garments and moan in sorrow, or even in anger at God (whom they just yesterday forgot or disdained) for the "injustice" of it all. Perhaps we should be more mindful of the wild creatures with whom He's blessed our lives, and remember from Whom we really receive life and all our bounty.
These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.

That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.

Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

Psalm 104:27-30
Special thanks to my daughter Donna for taking the stunning picture above and the "chow line" photo above that, while she was here visiting in January!


Jo said...

Such beautiful scenery!

Anonymous said...

Look at those beautiful deer! I am so surprised they come so close to your back door like that. How generous you and Melany were, to leave some cracked corn for them. The snow is lovely on your trees, too. Nice job!