I love to ski down the little hill to the flats behind our house and take a left to the nine acre field. I don’t often go there in other seasons. Springtime is too wet, summer too buggy (although I make an exception at family reunion time when we take the kids down there to fish off the high bank. The draw for me is a fire, roasting marshmallows and making s’mores), and autumn? I don’t know why I’m not drawn to the 9 acre field in autumn, I’m just not. But winter, that’s another matter. All the leaves are gone and you can see across the field, right over the creek to the property on the other side. There’s a white house with a picket fence…maybe it’s not really picket, but humor me. The people there are my neighbors I guess. We can only see the house during winter, and only if we trek around the bend and follow the creek. Even then we’re barely in shouting distance. I’ve never seen people out and about in the cold season, perhaps they only summer there. Still they are neighbors.
I’m always curious about that house because 35 years ago my cousin, who hailed from Johnstown, PA my original hometown, before State College became my hometown, and now, 40 years later, I’m thinking Cambridge Springs is my hometown, anyway, my cousin rented that house while he was attending college at Edinboro University. We discovered how close we were when our black lab swam the creek and went visiting. He recognized the dog and that made a fun connection and good stories to tell. And years later we still tell that story.
The partially frozen creek takes a bend there at the high bank. Our portion of French Creek is quite beautiful on snowy days, overcast days, and sunny days, so it’s no wonder I like skiing along the banks of French Creek. It provides good thinking time as well — thinking, meditating, praying. You know….you feel closer to God outside of the house. It’s easier to talk and commune with the Lord when a ceiling and roof aren’t in the way, or the dishes, or the laundry, or the telephone, computer…you get the idea. And yet, all that aside, I like my warm house, all my modern conveniences, and a tea kettle always at the ready.
When I’m not doing something fun like skiing, I like looking out the windows at snow falling, wind blowing — and not feeling — the air chilling. I stand at my kitchen window and watch birds who apparently don’t mind the cold. The birds are so appreciative of handouts. What a lovely trade off. We feed them, they entertain us. Perfect.
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;
he does great things beyond our understanding.
6 He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’
and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’
7 So that everyone he has made may know his work,
he stops all people from their labor.[a]
8 The animals take cover;
they remain in their dens.
9 The tempest comes out from its chamber,
the cold from the driving winds.
10 The breath of God produces ice,
and the broad waters become frozen.
11 He loads the clouds with moisture;
he scatters his lightning through them.
12 At his direction they swirl around
over the face of the whole earth
to do whatever he commands them.
13 He brings the clouds to punish people,
or to water his earth and show his love.
14 “Listen to this, Job;
stop and consider God’s wonders.
Job 37: 5-14