Embracing My Inner Snowbird

I suspect that I am in the vast minority of people when I say this, but I absolutely adore snow.  I love watching it, I love dancing in it, I even like shoveling it, which my relatives gleefully take advantage of when I visit.  I’m not a huge fan of driving in it, but that’s about the only thing I don’t like.  I don’t know how to explain to you, Reader, how wondrous I find snow; I am warmer when there is snow, I am calmer when there is snow, I am generally closer to the person God probably wishes I would be.  I wait all summer for winter to come, for that first snowfall that makes my chest tighten with excitement that snow is here.

It snowed last night.I totally am this cat

This made me extraordinarily happy, even though it wasn’t much.  There’s a thing about snow that, because it’s slow, engenders contemplation in me.  Is it also that way for you?  It doesn’t so much fall as drift, lazily letting gravity do all of the work as each crystal snuggles on top of another, a lace patchwork of scientific magic.  I freely admit to still trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue, to throwing snowballs and making snow angels and wondering how on earth there can be so many different designs.

So I was thinking about how I’ve gotten completely blindsided by the start of this semester.  It’s perhaps appropriate to start off the last term with a bang, but the unfortunate thing about bangs is that they are quite sudden and usually catch you off guard.  I’ve been late to nearly everything this week.  The university seems bent on filling all of my non-work/class hours with meetings that are about as thrilling and useful as Environmental Geology in college, when I learned that watermelons are the most useless and free-loading creations of the edible world.

I was also thinking about how caught up I’ve been in this and how I really can’t wait for it to be May already so I can be done with this degree, with one of my jobs, with this university life that makes me everything I don’t like about myself.

But then it snowed.  And I twirled in my parking lot like the 7-year-old I sometimes still am because snow is my joy, and it is good to be reminded of your joy.  It is good to remind yourself that the frustration is not the only thing going on.

My department hosts a reception every semester, ostensibly to welcome any new students we’ve lured in.  From an anthropological standpoint, they’re the highlights of the year; there is nothing quite like getting a room full of people who, by nature, are not terribly good at dealing with social situations, have been working all week, and have only the common denominator of being insufferably intelligent about a very narrow field of study and making them mingle for two hours.  Add in an open bar of beer and wine and the occasional bad speech of welcome.  Stir.

Being in it rather than observing it is often miserable, especially if you’re new.  Basically, you’re trying to prove your place in a room full of people who are far more focused on their own problems and theories than you.  My first couple were just awful because I was mixing that trepidation of intellectual inferiority with the weird high of being in a room full of people who actually know what you’re talking about when you discuss the Middle Ages, which is unusual.  It was somewhat like mixing tequila and beer; you know you shouldn’t do it and you pay for it later, but it seemed like such a good idea at the time.

This past Friday was my last reception, and you know what?  I didn’t care.  I don’t have to impress anyone there anymore because I’m not going into any field that matters to them, and I was coming off of a mind-numbing three-hour mandatory workshop on things I’d had to figure out two years ago.  So I talked to a handful of people I actually do like about things that seemed interesting, which included British television, action films, and knitting projects.

And, of course, seminary.

I don’t know how that always gets into the mix.  Trust me, I’m not usually the one who brings it up—but, in that environment where “the next step” is the most reliable conversation card, I kind of couldn’t avoid it.  And it was okay, because I heart the guy who asked me about it and he was actually genuine in his interest.  We talked about how often we don’t regret having done something but would never do it over again.  And we hit on a theory I quite like—what you should do with your life depends heavily on what career’s bullshit you can handle.

This friend and I realized that it’s not about being able to play the game of your particular profession, it’s about being able to see beyond the game and the corruption and the politics to the thing you fell in love with in the first place.  This used to be academics for me, but  I no longer see through the pettiness to the core of simply being in love with learning and teaching.  He does, which is why he’s a professor, and more power to him.  God help me, I can deal with the politics of the Church.  I don’t like it, and it breaks my heart, but I can see through that to the pulse of God behind it, to the people we could be, and I will fight for that to the end.  This realization was worth the reception—though maybe not that workshop.

Amazing what a simple snowfall gets you to mull over.



 “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”  (Isaiah 1:18, NIV)

3 thoughts on “Embracing My Inner Snowbird

  1. If I follow your drift, it sounds like you’ve just earned your BS in church politics. Or maybe it’s a BS-antidote..

    Anyway, I don’t know what’s better: hearing you rhapsodize about snow, or hearing Sheila talk about the hokey-pokey when she’s stuck in a neck brace. Anyway, thanks for making me smile, both of you.



  2. Sheila Bigelow says:

    Yes! That is why so many of us stay in a church we love, despite the things we hate about it. At the core, this church is what keeps me connected to God, and that’s what it’s all about (should be said while doing the hokey-pokey razzle-dazzle). Sheila



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