The picture of the cardinal and squirrel in the previous post is about a month old and taken from the screened-in porch – they tend to run off when I take the camera outside. Of course we had a lot less snow a month ago. Here’s the same bird feeder now, sans birds and squirrels.
For a week the snow has hung heavy on the evergreens outside my office window.
To the south of the house, the cardinals and squirrels – gathered beak to jowl – sit below the bird feeder trying to fend off the below-zero weather with extra food. The cat slinks in the distance, hoping for a chance to pounce.
Can there be a more iconic picture of Christmas than cardinals in the snow? But the cat, always slinking just beyond our field of view, reminds us that the lion has not yet curled up with the lamb. Nativity may be a season of hope but the weeks after solstice are hard-time in a sin-sick world.
Certain critics remind us every year that Jesus wasn’t born in December (I’ve heard good cases for both May and August) as if this dislocation of the kairos and the chronos of his birth somehow brings disrepute on Christianity. But the critics miss the point. Winter is a season of treacherous beauty, of death, despair and exquisite glory. Hope is easy and shallow when the apple tree is breaking with bounty. In contrast, what better way to illustrate the grandeur of God’s gift than to swaddle it in the bitterness of winter?
We travelled south for Christmas and missed the Christmas blizzard of ’09. We planned on returning Saturday 12/26 but had to stay overnight in Omaha because the interstate was closed. Sioux City got 21″. According to the Nat’l Weather Service in Sioux Falls, that was the most snow for any city in the region.
When we got to town late Sunday morning (after a slow drive from Omaha) this is what greeted us. (This is our driveway, btw.)
We turned around, went back to town, and had lunch.
The drifts were up to my belly button and I even got snow down my pants trudging my way to the house
Fortunately, we have good neighbors. Vern, who lives behind us, pulled in with his front-end loader a few minutes later and started clearing snow. In a half hour he had the big chunks done and after another two hours I finished the job with the snow blower.
The next big project is to dig our way to the bird feeder. (The mound of snow to the far right is also a feeder. Since the drift is taller than the feeder, that one may be out of commission until the snow melts a bit.)
And once again, Vern is about the best neighbor a guy could have. Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!!