Sunday Morning Coffee: First Snow

Image result for first snowfall of the year

This photo was taken near Washington, D.C, which is a couple of hours south of us. It looks about the same here. Not a lot of snow, and today it’s a typical clear blue day-after-the-snow sky.

January has been fairly mild so far, in spite of some quite severe storms in the Midwest that seemed to wear themselves out before they got to us. I’m thankful for the mild weather. I don’t deal as well with the cold and snow as I did years ago. But the snow does bring back memories.

We lived in Minneapolis until I was 10, when we moved to Portland, OR for five years while my dad attended seminary and started a new church. When I was 15, we moved to southern Minnesota, a little farm town called St. James. Those five years in Portland were like a time-out from the winters I was used to. Minneapolis was cold in the winter; and there was lots of wonderful snow for all the kids in the neighborhood to enjoy. Snowmen, snow forts, snowball fights, snow angels, sledding and sliding on whatever we could find that would move in the snow. Most of us didn’t have fancy snowsuits. We wore as many pairs of jeans as we could, zipped our boots over our shoes, found every pair of mittens and hats we could. Once we were soaked through, we trekked upstairs, peeled everything off and draped it all over the radiators that steamed and hissed under the load of wet clothes, and put them all back on again when they were dry. So much fun 🙂

I went to high school in St. James. We lived a long city block from the school, so I walked back and forth. Don’t misunderstand–this was not in the city. We lived across the road from a corn field. The winter winds blew unhindered across that field, finding every crevice in the old, uninsulated farmhouse we lived in. Brrrrr.

The winter of the year I graduated, in 1965, we had real prairie blizzards every single weekend in March. When it was finally over, you could quite literally walk from housetop to housetop on the drifts from the snow and wind.

Image result for St. James, Minnesota 1965 snowfall

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen snow like that, especially snow that just kept on coming. And coming. . .

It could be dangerous, but it was beautiful. When it was fresh, it sparkled in the sunlight and made sunglasses a necessity. It provided great entertainment for little kids, and snowmobiles were just making an entrance into winter activities.

And all this wandering down memory lane is bringing me to the book of Job.

Job 38:22 

22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?

Always, I have been fascinated by the idea that no two snowflakes are identical.

Image result for no two snowflakes are identical

There have been scientists who have replicated snowflakes in a lab, coming up with identical flakes. One scientist says he found two identical flakes in the same storm back in 1988. I couldn’t find a picture of that. The fact remains that there are zillions of snowflakes, and it is fascinating to see them enlarged like those above. The way the crystals develop depends on many different factors, and I don’t understand it all. Temperature, other particles in the atmosphere, and so on.

But look at those flakes! What a treasure, for example, for someone who likes to create jewelry. Or for some little kid with a stack of paper and a pair of scissors who is just learning to create his own snowflakes. It’s wonderful stuff. Provides nitrogen for the soil, and total joy for those who love to ski.

I think God has a wonderful time creating each snowfall, each snowflake. There is no end to His creativity.

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