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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Shepherd's Heart: A white Christmas?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Well ... If the folks who forecast the weather are correct (and we all know they usually are) it looks like we will be having a white Christmas this year.

To tell you the truth, I like a good snow right about December 23rd or 24th. It always helps to move those who already are in the spirit a little further toward their holiday "peak" -- and it seems to help those who have lingered at the outer boundary of the glow and warmth of the Yule log to move a little closer to the flame.

A good blanket of the cold, white stuff just makes all the lights and decorations seem all the more festive.

When I was a much younger individual, freshly fallen snow during Christmas break was good for any number of activities.

When the snow was still falling and still looked relatively pristine and unpolluted, mom or grandma would send us out into cold to scoop snow into a large mixing bowl. Once we'd completed our task, one of the ladies would take the bowl full of snow and start adding ingredients.

First milk, then sugar, and maybe some vanilla -- all in just the right proportions. Before you knew it, we'd all be sitting around the kitchen table eating the best snow ice cream ever made, and trying to keep that -- later called "brain freeze" -- from hurting too badly.

Snow also meant we could grab shovels, form large round mounds of packed snow, and then hollow them out to make igloos in the front yard. These, as I remember, were great places from which to launch a pre-emptive (and sometimes retaliatory) hurling of snow balls.

During those times when I wintered in northern Arkansas, frozen roads and icy pine trees were the norm. The fog would freeze on the pine needles and continue to gather, increasing the diameter until they were fingers of crystal glistening in the sun.

As an adult, I remember the heavy, wet snows of the Oregon and Washington Cascades. I can still picture, in my mind's eye, how the snow would hang in great white pillows atop the branches of the conifers that ruled the forests there. A shift of the wind -- in either speed or direction -- could bring large amounts of snow crashing down in an instant. A keen awareness of where one was walking was a good defense against being covered with an avalanche of snow from somewhere overhead.

It's been awhile since I've experienced that kind of winter. I think I've been missing it. I guess you could say I am looking forward to good snowfall ... and just in time for Christmas.

"I'm dreamin' of a white Christmas ...

Just like the ones I used to know ..."

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BOB G. STEWART, Columnist
The Shepherd's Heart