One of the comforting things about my sister Judy’s birthday yesterday (see Beautiful Girl) was the gentle snow that fell in the early morning. It was so lovely, it made the whole day feel softer. I took Judy’s dog Ryder for a walk, just as she would have done. Ryder is an Aussie Shepherd and he just absolutely loves the snow. So did my gentle giant and four-footed boy, Watson.
I especially enjoy dog walking at night in the park right near my house. It’s a small park surrounded by homes. The porch lights make the snow in the park glow and shimmer. Everything seems fresh and new, touched by the wonder of the world. How fragile, how beautiful everything is!
Sometimes looking at the new-fallen snow makes me think of a brand new page, just waiting to be filled. The tracks in the snow make me think of the words we write. They cut across the snow, traveling toward some unknown point of arrival, just as our words take us on a journey to someplace we haven’t been before or to someplace familiar that it may take courage and patience to revisit.
When we were little kids, we used to play a “secret code” game. We would take a piece of paper and write an invisible message on it in lemon juice. Then, very carefully, we would hold it above a flame. The heat would turn the lemon juice brown and voila! the message we’d written would be revealed.
Sometimes when I sit down to write, that old game comes to me. And I wonder in my heart of hearts, if the words I’m about to summon up are already invisibly encoded within that sheet of paper, just waiting for me to reveal them. A comforting thought isn’t it? (see Cloud Writing). We don’t really have to start from scratch when we begin to write. All we have to do is reveal what’s waiting for us, quietly and tenderly, and as purely as fresh snow falling on a winter’s eve.