Our First Snow for 2022-2023 Winter Season
And so it begins. We knew it was coming, she always does. Sometimes she's earlier, sometimes she's later, but she always shows up. Except for the several days in October with subfreezing temps, we have been having a mild fall here where I live in Maine. This morning when I woke up - a little later than normal due to a late night of sleeplessness - I rolled over and looked out the sliding door to snow. It made me smile, The first snow of the season always does.
My first thought was how the hunters will be happy. A fresh powder in the morning makes for easy tracking. I grew up hunting with my dad and mornings like this we couldn't wait to get out into the woods. Sure, we wanted to get that big trophy and put meat on the table, but it was also the beauty that drew us out into the cold.
My dad is gone and I seldom hunt any more, but the draw of that first snow still pulled me out of bed and into her midst. This time I was accompanied by my good hiking buddy, Ziggy. Since I was two and half hours behind my morning routine I have just started this week, I had to skip my first items in that schedule. I ran upstairs to wake Ziggy up, poor guy, I was an hour late getting him up. But he seemed quite content snug in his crate.
I quickly took him out for his business then back inside we went to fill the treat bag, grab a leash, hiking vests, boots, warm gear, my pruning gear, and both our hunter-orange clothing. We may not be hunting, but we didn't want to be the hunted either. We were right on time for our morning walk. Up back we went.
I was excited for the snow. It's always a fresh feeling of renewal for me. A new season with a new canvas. Besides being outside for fresh air and spending time with Ziggy, I was extra excited to finish a trail I have been working on. I have a wonderful neighbor who owns several hundred acres and he lets me hike out there and even clear footpaths. I started this particular trail in 2021. It isn't long, just over half a mile. I have always valued the work of trail maintainers but after creating my own little route, my appreciation for what they do is over the top. It took time, but working almost weekly, a few yards at a time, sometimes only a few feet, I now have a walking trail so I don't have to walk on the camp road. But I'm not done. I have other routes I can tackle now. Who knows, maybe it will become an intricate private hiking trail system for us locals (Remember when going on private lands, always get permission first).
We returned home over an hour later. It may only be 0.6 miles from my front door, I had 50 yards left to prune, so that takes time. While I did that Prince Ziggy sniffs, runs here and there, always staying close and we also worked on different training stuff while I cleared. It's a great workout for both of us.
I decided to do my morning routine, a little out of sequence, but I wanted to keep doing it so as to develop a habit. I struggle with staying focused. You know that. My intentions are good, but I stray easily. Besides, that old saying sticks in the back of my head and keeps haunting me. You know the one, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." There may be some truth to that.
My skipped items were easy and quite enjoyable. I have been getting up and going down to the shore of the lake to sit and pray or just to sit and do nothing and just be in God's presence. We have this beautiful piece of heaven and we take it for granted. What a way to start the day. Even for those who do not place your trust in our creator, you have to admit, just sitting in quiet solitude near a body of water is healing. And we have it 100 feet from our door.
Be sides that, I read some devotionals, short ones. I am not good at this. "Wait. What?" you say. "You wrote a devotional, and you aren't good at taking the time to read a devotion yourself." Yup. Guilty. I enjoy it, just like I enjoy a lot of things, but other things pull me away. I'm like a squirrel darting here and there burying nuts and never really doing anything at all and forgetting half the stuff I do tend to. So, I am trying to be more consistent without being rigid.
After I read the thought for the day from Pope Francis, I was reading in Teach Me Your Way, O Lord , by Elaine Starner. Full disclosure, Elaine is my book editor and I contributed to this devotional. The devotion was titled On Solid Rock. As I was reading it I was thinking, Wow, this is really good. This is amazing. It didn't surprise me to see that is was written also by Elaine.
The devotion talked about how our world is ever changing; what we think is okay one year is not so the next, whether it's health, fitness, recreation, food, music, and so on. But the one constant is God. His way never changes. He is solid rock. I love the analogies Elaine used to explain this simple concept of the Truth.
That got me thinking about how I struggle with consistency. I will always be someone who needs to experience different things, but I do need to be more proficient in my every day tasks so not to waste this precious gift of life God has given me. It's no accident that the week I set out to retry and refocus, is the same week I pick up a devotion that talks about God being the true constant and sure thing.
Just like Mother Nature's snowy winters are a sure thing every season here in Maine, God will be a sure thing in my life if I am consistent with spending time with him. I truly have felt a new found peace taking that five or ten minutes each day and just being still. I challenge you to do the same. In this crazy world, it can be difficult to carve out that time, but try it. If you can't find a piece of nature to sit in, try a quiet place inside your home, even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom - no one questions why you are in there. Stare at a nature photo. I have several if you need one. Just be. I suggest you ask God to come into your heart and sit with you. Don't say anything, just be. If He isn't your cup of tea yet, then just sit in silence.
Start with one day, then two, and three. Before you know it you will have a week done, and two. Now a month. I can almost guarantee you will begin to have more joy and peace in your heart, something we can all take advantage of.
If you don't like to get out into the snow and cold but love it's beauty, below is a short clip of Ziggy and I this morning. Or check back throughout this winter for more snowy adventures. I hope to be more ardent about winter sports.