Snow Days

I am writing this, it is the day after we cancelled services because of winter weather that could have been a lot worse than it was. I hope you were all warm and didn’t have to get out before your streets were plowed and treated. Yesterday morning, sitting in my living room, I heard the whistle of a freight train that runs along the east side of town and suddenly thought of a Japanese novel I read long ago: Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata, which begins, with the very evocative lines, “The train came out of the long border tunnel — and there was the snow country.” With the memory clear, I wrote a couple of haiku. One focused on the train, the other in my living room.

“Two Snowday Haiku”

No service today —
A freight train plows through piled snow
Below the Blue Ridge

Drinking my cuppa —
Walter loudly whispering
Crosswords to himself

I love the snow – but I love it most when I can stay indoors and watch it sift down through the trees, and it is cleared away before I have to go anywhere.

This was our second Sunday of this church year that we canceled services for the weather. There was another Sunday when it would not have been a bad choice to cancel, but we forged ahead. And the worst of the winter weather could still be ahead of us if this year is like many previous years. With this potential uptick in the need to cancel, we will be carefully thinking through best practices for making and communicating the decision, what the best time frame is, what sources of information should be most important to our decision, and such. If you have opinions on this, please let me know.

Meanwhile, you know some people around us are going to be saying something like, “See? I told you there was no global warming!” And we may roll our eyes. We may think of the cartoon of the sinking Titanic, with one end sinking fast and the other end temporarily raised high out or the water. We may even try to reason with people who think climate change is a hoax. But the extremes of climate and weather remind us both of our species’ vulnerability and our responsibility to find and pursue ways of making meaningful changes before it is too late.

So let’s look at inclement weather and the shifts in climate that cause it with an open heart, accepting its beauty, rising to overcome its risks and dangers, and listening to its call to action – all with grace and commitment.

Peace and Blessings,
Rev. Paul