It was sunny and almost painfully bright today, but cold and very windy. Easter Sunday’s snow is holding its own in the depths of the woods, but is melting rapidly in those areas that are not protected by shadow. The spring birds seem annoyed and perhaps slightly confused by this sudden blanket of white that hampers their efforts at nest-building. Yet they are determined and, like the snow, have found shelter in the woods and are holding their own.
It was a busy day. Tracy attended classes virtually from the res; Marge posted revised signs on the doors to the house informing passersby that we are temporarily closed; I fixed our postage meter; Fr. Bob continues to take stock of the root vegetables in our cellar, ensuring that the rather-more-abundant-than-we-need-right-now-harvest is either used or gifted in a timely manner. Fr. Bob also had the honor, whilst on his way to collect the newspaper today, of discovering where the icy spots of the driveway are. Fortunately, he came to no harm on the ice, but his encounter with the frozen form of Sister Water did spark a house-wide discussion on the relative merits of plowing the driveway before Wednesday, when Marge must traverse the driveway on her way to a medical appointment.
It was ultimately decided that Brother Sun would probably do the job at least as well as, if not better than, our plow. Besides, we weren’t entirely certain that the truck would start – none of us could remember the last time it was driven, although Tracy and I both have a vague sense that someone may have driven it about a month ago.
In part to assure myself that we had made the correct decision in choosing not to plow the driveway and in part to get out of the house, I bundled into my snow boots, a coat, gloves, and two scarves (one served in lieu of the hat that I couldn’t find), and clomped southwards down the driveway. Having ascertained that Brother Sun was, indeed, working on the ice at least as well as our plow was likely to work, I turned to the east and entered the woods to check on downed branches. While there, I removed a handful of large-ish sticks from various trails and brushed the snow off the statue of St. Bernadette in the grotto. I ascertained that river and stream are both completely free of ice, with the one flowing gently, the other a bit more hurriedly. While the pond is draining at a steady rate into the fast-moving stream, parts of it are still crusted with a thin sheen of ice. I rounded out my trek through the woods by leaving a bouquet of fallen evergreen boughs and pinecones on Peter’s headstone. I like to visit the cemetery to chat with him every now and then, reminiscing about old times and perhaps asking for a bit of his wise guidance.
Peter, having been born midway through the last pandemic to have thrown the human family out of kilter, is no doubt a good intercessor to help protect and guide us through the days of COVID 19. The more I communed with Peter there in the cemetery, the more reassured I felt, knowing that he is there to anchor us throughout the days ahead in serenity, wisdom, and joy – for surely there is joy always, even in the darkest of times. And as I turned to walk back to the house, I was equally reassured in the knowledge that this house itself was likewise brought into being – and stood strong through – that earlier time of pandemic.
Always still and once again, this house and the community near and far who call it both literal and metaphorical home will hold our own against uncertainty and darkness, remaining steadfast in hope and in joy.