Monday, December 17, 2007

Five inches of snow fell in two hours yesterday, and I kept finding reasons to go out in it. I injured my left knee running dogs on Friday, and between my and Mandy’s injuries, our training is waylaid for the time being. But I played in the snow nonetheless. The dogs and I scampered around in it; I shoveled it, played with the girls in it, and slipped in it in my truck while making random errands around town just to be out in it. After playing in the snow, I went to my parents’ house to use my mom’s sewing machine and made a fleece liner for my sleeping bag and a small camp pillow. Then I came home to order some winter gear online, including my “Trans-Alaskan Anorak” from Cabela’s – my only requested Christmas present.

As excited as I am about the upcoming winter, I am also hesitant. This winter marks a separation in my life from what I have known for quite some time. In two days, I close a chapter of my life that’s existed for seven years: that of working in healthcare. Coming to my office this morning was bittersweet. Despite the irritation from office politics, I will miss this place in some ways. I will miss the peace it brought to me, days doing research on the hospital’s charting system, listening to the CPU humming while looking out the giant windows. This office has been my place of quiet and solace.

There are many people I will miss here, too – many who I’ve come to know well in a short amount of time, and many who I will likely not continue to know simply because of not working with them anymore. I think of the Verve, “it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life.”

The white of winter makes me simultaneously giddy and content. Snow offers an expanse that separates us from the busy scurry of summer. I appreciate the neatness of a field of white, untouched and pristine. Gazing at the giant single snowflakes that fell randomly and gently from the sky this morning on my early drive in, I was lulled by their beauty and softness. In their haphazard gentle swaying, each snowflake fell so gracefully and quietly. Winter is a peaceful abode where the world is hushed-up, like a sweet baby sleeping. Winter dreams not. The sleep it brings is heavy.

But what is it about winter that also makes me want to keep moving? I’ve recently learned that bear, commonly thought to hibernate all winter, in fact do not. They have regular periods of waking during hibernation. Their bodies receive fuel from glucose stores in ketones in the fat of their liver, not from proteins. Because the liver is a filter, they wake out of necessity: when the liver stores up too many toxins, they wake up to search for food.

Winter is home to me. Barren trees with nothing to cover them strike me as thin hands clawing at the sky. But barren trees covered with snow become highlighted in beauty. It is how nature calls our attention toward Heaven. Once highlighted in white, the trees beg our attention, pointing to the sky saying, “look! This is God’s country!”

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