For the second time in about three weeks, we have been hit with snow in the Chattanooga area. Last time, it caught most of us by surprise (much of the South, actually). This time, however, we were a little more prepared (or as prepared as we get, I suppose). While we were expecting some snow, I don’t think most of us expected as much as we got.
I will say this, however… while many folks around this area may not fully appreciate a good snowfall (and the inconvenience it brings), there is something about it that is most intriguing. To look out across a landscape that had been diverse – filled with beauty, flaws, focal-points both positive and negative, and works of art (some man-made, some “Creator-inspired”) – then to see it all covered with the same blanket of snow, the same texture and tone, it is as if a good snowfall becomes the great equalizer. The edges and inconsistencies of the topography disappear into one solid, flowing, undisturbed landscape of snowy perfection, punctuated by trees, ponds, and structures. Even the night seems less intimidating, less mysterious, and less ominous.
Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year,
I listen, and it cheers me long. ~ from “Woods in Winter”
A winter garden in an alder swamp,
Where conies now come out to sun and romp,
As near a paradise as it can be
And not melt snow or start a dormant tree. ~ from “A Winter Eden”
The beauty and purity of snow was not lost on those who penned the Bible either…
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow…” ~ Isaiah 1:18
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” ~ Psalm 51:7
Freshly-fallen snow paints a beautiful picture of grace. Regardless of what went on before, upon snow’s arrival, the blemishes are forgotten, the inequities are forgiven, and below the surface, new life is waiting to be born.
However, another picture comes to mind with the invocation of snow. Think of the majesty of a snow covered mountain range. Think of the creative power displayed in the beauty of a snow-covered vista. Now, with that in mind…
“As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire.” ~ Daniel 7:9
“The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.” ~ Revelation 1:14-15
Think about it the next time you encounter a good winter’s snowfall. You may not look at snow the same way.
(Special thanks to my friends who braved the cold, and shared their pictures with me.)