Cold night...

6 below farenheit last night, looks like real winter is coming back. The weather report says snow today in southeastern Minnesota and Iowa. Could be a long drive to LaCrosse.

I remember winter like this. As a child I recall snow banks tall enough to require cars to have a bright orange or green ball on their antennas so we could see them from the sidewalk. On nights when the snow was deep and the sky clear the temperature would drop, sometimes well below zero, and everything became still. In the darkness houses with lights on glowed warm and the snow underfoot crunched beneath your boots. Every so often you could turn, look over your shoulder, and see the remnants of your breath floating through the air.

There's a romance to that but there is a truth as well. The truth is that I get older the charm of winter decreases. What was beautiful and serene in my childhood grows colder with each passing year. I can still endure it but the childhood joy of winter and snow only rarely resurfaces these days. I do what I have to do.

Some years ago I served a parish in Kansas and on the whole it was a sad experience, a small church that wanted nothing of the future, good people trapped in something they could not understand. But the weather, dry and clear, only occasionally dipping into the 20's, spoiled me, perhaps for life. I was willing to pay for the hot summers with an easy winter and even if that time was not typical it was set inside me as the way I wanted these months to pass.

I don't want to go to Kansas again but some day I'll retire to some place where winter is like that, not Florida warm and muggy but not frozen hard like here either. In time, everything in time...

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