Magnolia trees have been blossoming here in South Carolina for the last three or four weeks. Daffodils and narcissus and azalea bushes have been showing off their glories. The local garden stores have spring herbs and flowers for sale. It is early February and the world has already begun to shrug off winter.
In the meantime a monster storm has hit the Northeastern states and Canada. Each time anybody brings up this storm I remember living in the Boston suburbs during the Blizzard of 2003 when twenty-seven inches fell. The area had a mere twenty-five inches this year. I wonder if I stayed home that President’s Day and the day after when the worst of the storm hit New England or if I put on my boots and walked around the neighborhood.
What I always remember about snowstorms and blizzards is looking out the window to watch the angels play in the snow. They may be monster storms, but each flake is light and fluffy enough for an angel on skis. More remarkable than any of the snows I’ve seen in the North were those in the Rockies.
It is just incredible to live in a canyon at seven thousand feet that is maybe no more than one or two city blocks wide and lose sight of the canyon wall across the meadow. It is extraordinary to have a landscape dominated by the distant mountain peaks surrounding Santa Fe disappear in a miasma of wind driven snow. My sight was taken up by thousands upon thousands of angels playing in the driving winds and snow. The angels would slide down the Pecos Canyon from where the river and canyon began miles upstream to where it curved just below the monastery and continue to fly above the Pecos River bed. Maybe they would return. Maybe they would just continue on down to the Gulf of Mexico.
Other angels would fly almost like they were skiing off the top of the opposite canyon. Some of them stopped at my bedroom or office window. Some of them came right through. More than once they invited me to join them as they had when I was a child. Then I was bundled up in a snow suit, muffler and gloves and sent outside to make snow angels and dig tunnels in the drifts. By the time I had become a man I was more apt to look for a warm place to watch the storm.
In Boston and Chicago I lived a few stories above the street. From there I could look down to watch the silence of the snow. My kitchen was stocked with food. It was easy enough to listen to the radio, read a book and ride out the storm.
How very different my life is now!
In the Northern snows I saw angels playing in the storms. In the South I drive to the ocean to watch angels play on the white caps. In the dark of night they play along the silent surface of the waters. In daytime they slide across the surface of air and water.
There is beauty in the monster storms just as there is beauty in the early opening magnolias. The angels’ tears are on the flowers as much as they are in the snows and rains.
We have only to look to see how we are loved, protected and cared for by our angels. They care for each of us. We are the flowers beneath the snows.