This is only my second winter in New England and, after spending most of my life in tropical climates, I am still mezmerized by the sacred white flurries and their magnificent accumulation.  The weatherman instructed me to prepare for a winter storm at the three o’clock hour, but when I arrived at work this morning the flakes had already started to swirl in silent pirouettes.  I emerged from the warm cocoon of my VW Jetta with a face full of tiny wet kisses.  As I unpacked my teaching supplies from the backseat, the soft snowfall began to gather along the shoulders of my coat and in the tangled wisps of my unkept locks.  My inner child grinned with wild delight at the magic of it all.  Much to the amusement of several groggy college students, I squealed like a small girl and spun in frenzied circles in the busy parking lot.  It was an innocent moment between us, their curiousity captured by my playful display.  How were they not utterly enchanted? Where was their sense of reverence and wonderment?  I laughed out loud and one young man answered me with a cautious chuckle. 

“Not from around here, eh?” he inquired.   

I shook my head as I threw my gaze skyward and welcomed the taste of tiny water crystals on my tongue. “The sky is falling! The sky is falling! And I love it!”  I shot him a toothly smile as a waddled across the slush and ice to the safety of our front lobby. 

Hours later, after our final classes were complete, I threw open the double glass doors to greet the life-size version of a well-shaken snowglobe.  It was marvelous, hypnotizing, and fierce.  I stood speechless and spellbound on the frozen rubber mat, staring out into an unfamiliar world that left me simultaneously invigorated and terrified.  Oh my God, it’s beautiful! Oh my God, I don’t have snow tires or four-wheel drive. 

I dashed out into the blinding white, this time squealing more frantically than before as I leaped to avoid puddles of salt and sand.  My eyes locked on my feet, I shuffled around the parking lot like a walking meditation labrynth, until finally stumbling into my car.  I brushed the snow from the back window with the sleeve of my coat, then pumped my electronic key fob and fumbled for the door handle.  With the assistance of my wipers, the fresh power flew from my windshied in an arched spray.  I slipped the gear into reverse, then realized my freshly cleared rear window had quickly been returned to zero-visibility.  What the hell? I pressed the accelerator lightly and prayed for the best.

 I don’t think I ever broke 25 mph on my 12 mile drive home, but at some point I realized my hands were cramping from the death-grip on the steering wheel. 

In the many translations of Biblical scripture, the words “awe” and “fear” have often been used interchangeably.  Today, God demonstrated to me how that is possible. 

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