A Valentine for Snow

In the book Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, Chief Oren Lyons writes about Native American practices of thanksgiving:  “In the spring when the sap runs through the trees, we have ceremonies, thanksgiving.  For the maple, chief of the trees, leader of all the trees, thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving for all the trees.  Planting Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving for the strawberries, first fruit.  Thanksgiving for the bees, the corn, green corn, thanksgiving.  Harvest thanksgiving.  Community, process, chiefs, clan mothers, everybody is there.  Families are there.  How do you inspire respect for something?  By giving thanks, by doing it.”  Chief Lyons’ statement catches my attention today as I realize that it’s not common to give thanks for snow and other types of winter weather.  We have a habit of gratitude for warmth and harvests more than for the thick, quiet, white blanket that slows our driving or keeps us home for a day.  Here in the Northeast, people are complaining more than usual about the winter as we receive much more snow than usual.  But I love Lyons’ idea that the way to inspire respect for something is to give thanks for it.  I’m so grateful for this white beauty after two strangely dry, warm winters.  Despite the inconveniences snow days bring, I’m grateful for the quiet times I’ve had at home with my family.  I’m grateful for abundant moisture in a time when some regions face drought.  I’m grateful for the gentle contours of snow drifts—they soften winter’s hard angles and remind me to soften, too.  I invite you to join me in thanksgiving for whatever weather your season is bringing you this week, sending out a loving Valentine to the natural world.

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