Valentine Snow Storm

Valentine arrives in Toronto and so does a snow storm. Certainly, there is no love lost between old man winter and this city.

For me personally it was not a bad trip to work. My normal fifteen minutes bus trip was delayed by a mere half an hour. Were not for the bus I missed by one minute while clearing my driveway (I saw it went by while I was putting my shovel away, it was agonizing seeing it went by and I just missed it) I would have face minimal delay. The fact that I missed the earlier bus dragged me into heavier traffic but was really no huge inconvenient. However it got me thinking a bit. 

Why do people brace this horrific weather condition to head to work? Would it not be a lot easier to just sit home, pop in a DVD and watch a heart-warming movie with some hot coco? Is there so much at stake that some people risk getting into an accident to meet some artificial deadline at work? Of course there are people like the wonderful TTC drivers that get to work so we can get to work. Then on the other side there are people who get to work and sit and wait to get off work yet they still battle the snow and get in to their post. I think most people in my surrounding social and work environment are quite duty bound that is why they feel they must get to work. Yet inconsistency exists in the form that although they are duty bound but they despise the very thing they are duty bound to. Is not that weird?  

While I waited for the bus I kept thinking of the alternatives I can return home or use an alternative route. At one point I was angry at myself of not shoveling faster. I went as far as wondering why I had to shovel at all. Why not let my other half deal with it? Then I thought this is so similar to how I look at other portions of my life. I wonder, I get annoyed and I began to blame. (Sound familiar? Yes, like our friends in Genesis two) I just thought there is so much in life where the microscopic and the macroscopic comply with the same principles. More specifically, we tend to look at life using the same lens for the minutest detail as well as the big picture. I am not sure this is good but this seems to be true.  

Although snow seems such a hazard there is so much inherent beauty in it. There is a courtyard at my work place where the building formed an “L” shaped concave. Snow drifted in and formed the most perfect crescent that seemed almost there intention in its formation. There is also the smooth surface that akin to the smooth skin of a fair maiden.   

I am also fascinated by people and machines shoveling snow. Within hours after a now fall the entire landscape changed from a pure white sheet into a grid of squares separated by “black” roadways like a checkered chessboard. I remembered seeing this from a plane when I landed in town after a snow storm. That was a fascinating and memorable view. Now when I see people shoveling, I know I am seeing the microscopic detail of snow being moved one shovel at a time. And I know as time passes and many shovels later the checkered pattern will emerge. Man against nature at its best. Not battle nature but altered it just enough to be able to survive it, perfect combination of man’s work and nature’s grace.    

Suggestion for Valentine: build a snow person and carve two hearts on the body and stick a branch with leaves on it through both of them and add an inscription, “When two hearts join, new life could begin.”

The Nouwen devotion today is so in line with this blog. (Honestly I wrote the above before I read this.)

“We don’t have to go far to find the treasure we are seeking. There is beauty and goodness right where we are. And only when we can see the beauty and goodness that are close by can we recognize beauty and goodness on our travels far and wide. There are trees and flowers to enjoy, paintings and sculptures to admire; most of all there are people who smile, play, and show kindness and gentleness. They are all around us, to be recognized as free gifts to receive in gratitude. Our temptation is to collect all the beauty and goodness surrounding us as helpful information we can use for our projects. But then we cannot enjoy it, and we soon find that we need a vacation to restore ourselves. Let’s try to see the beauty and goodness in front of us before we go elsewhere to look for it.”

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