Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Friday, 1/9/09
This morning I went for a walk to see the sunrise and take pictures. It was quite cold, around 12 degrees. There was a hint of pink in the sky as I tramped out, along the road to the orchard. I followed the tractor ruts in the snow, trying not to get my boots full of snow. They went out to the woods pasture and back to the bottom of the hill where we camped in the summer. The heifers turned to look at me as I went by, but other than that, I was alone. Apparently I didn’t need to be in quite such a rush to get out there, because the sun was a long time in rising. I stood watching the grey clouds, which covered most of the sky, but were slit apart at the horizon, where that glimmer of pink intensified very slowly.

Behind me, the forest whispered and rustled, as though the night was gathering up its skirts to sneak away before the sun could catch it. I took some pictures, but it was so hard to capture the frigid greys and whites in my camera. Getting chilly, I decided to walk down to the pond, but because I didn’t want to mar the suave whiteness of new-fallen snow, I traced the paths of the wild things who had been before me. It was fascinating how their tracks converged and diverged, swirling here and there to pursue some interesting scent. Down to the pond they went eventually, where the ice was covered with a riotous networks of tracks. One could just imagine all the animals, small, medium, and large, dancing around on the ice.
As I traced my way up the hill, the eastern horizon was becoming more and more golden bright, and the clouds were now almost entirely swept from the sky. As I stood at the top of the hill, all of a sudden, with the exuberance of a surprise arrival, the sun dawned. The landscape, once so cold and flat in the grey light, was now dazzling with golden light, shades of pink, and billions of sparkling snow diamonds.

The morning air was fresh and alive, and the whole world seemed to be rejoicing. I felt like a child on Christmas morning who can’t decide what new toy to play with first. Everywhere I looked was beauty, and although I did my best, I knew that there was no way my pictures would be able to capture it. The landscape was too vast, the light too brilliant, the contrasts too dramatic, the glory too inexpressible—and finally, the time was too short.

As I went back indoors, I thought what a glorious picture of hope I had just experienced. The night had seemed unending, the cold so heartless, and the sky, which held the only hope of light and warmth, was cloudy and dull. But then—suddenly, gloriously, the sun rose. And the dazzling beauty made it hard to remember what the darkness had been like. Makes me think of Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” And 2 Corinthians 4:17,18, “for momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” One of these days, the glory of the sun is going to seem like darkness, because the Son shall be revealed, with a beauty, warmth, and magnificent brilliance that we never dreamed of. It’ll be worth the wait.

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