Today we had our first (and it’s early!) wonderful snowfall – several inches of fluffy white powder.  And as always when the ground is covered with a blanket of white, it’s a great day to make snow angels.  I’m dedicating this angel to my girlfriend who’s been going through cancer treatment.  Today I also remembered the chapter below which I wrote (but never posted) a couple years back after I finished treatment.  So much of what I wrote then is still true today.  Enjoy…

We don’t get a lot of snow in Northwest Arkansas, at least not nearly enough for my Yankee DNA.  So when it snows even a few inches, it’s a special event.

Near my house, there’s a beautiful city park where I frequently walk and jog.  After a snowfall, this park instantly transforms into a winter wonderland playground.  Children (of all ages) haul out their dusty sleds, coasters, trashcan lids, cardboard boxes and even snowboards to take to the 100’ hillside on the south end of the park.  I can’t help but smile and laugh out loud as I watch kids racing down and trudging back up the hill, run after run, even long after the snow has been worn away and the undaunted have begun cutting ruts in the mud and the grass.  Apparently, glee doesn’t depend on perfect conditions.

One February morning, in the midst of a rare 18” snowfall (that’s huge for us), I ventured out to explore the magic.  If you get to the park early, before all the youngsters who are home from school sleeping in rush through their breakfast to hit the slopes, it’s quiet, the ground and air blanketed with silence, the avian orchestra usually performing at full tilt tucked in for the duration.  Even once the intrepid sledders have rediscovered the southern slope, shrieking in delight while their parents gossip and clutch coffee mugs at the top, on the north side of the park you can find quiet enclaves where the children’s screeching resembles distant birdcall.

This was a couple months after I finished my last round of chemo.  After my scans and blood marker levels returned to normal and peach fuzz was beginning to sprout from my scalp.  When prayers of beseeching had turned to gratitude, and relief.

And I did what I always do when offered the gorgeous blank slate of a virginal snowy bank – I lay down in it and made a snow angel.

The following day, I went out again to enjoy the snowy enchantment.  How could one not, every crystal now sparkling in the sunlight, the whole earth bedecked in a glistening mantle?  I walked the perimeter, observing the furrows of critters scurrying through the deep, laughing as big chunks of fluffiness fell from the branches, admiring the now icy sliding slope, worn smooth by scores of children’s backsides.  When I reached the north side, I stopped in my tracks.  There, next to my once solitary angel, were two more, flanking her.  I hadn’t seen an angel anywhere else in the park; I had looked.  And before I could even think the word emotion, watery tears slid down my pink cheeks and my throat caught with the realization that someone, or some ones, little ones, had plopped themselves down on the wet snow to give my angel company.  I saw how one angel alone calls in others, just by being there, simply by showing up; how joy is contagious, and cancer is not.

There’s something about impressing your prayers—and gratitude—into the surface of the earth, grounding what’s heavenly in you, digging your way into being, and belonging, here.  Matter matters.  I try to remember that celebrating beauty and joy every chance I get is an opportunity I don’t want to pass up.  Perhaps the only thing left to do when life dumps a showstopper on your doorstep is to step into the wonder of this new landscape and lay yourself down in it.  Like that Rumi quote on my office wall:  “Try something different; surrender.”  Submit to the inscrutable mystery of it all, because soon enough, spring will come and once again change everything, green life now shooting through what was once cold and hard and buried, irrepressible vitality transforming the tundra of a life into a symphony of color, sound and lush verdure.