As the season’s first major ice and snowstorm swept across the country this past weekend, our dogs mirrored the concern and exuberance that accompanies such natural events.

When I opened the kitchen door to Sunday ‘s early morning ice pellets, Heathcliff stopped in his tracks and backed away. “Whoa there!” His need to relieve himself suddenly didn’t seem so urgent.

FreyaIceFreya, on the other hand, peered at the accumulation outside the kitchen door, leaped off the steps onto the deck, pawed the icy snow, took a bite then immediately dropped and rolled, belly up.

“Oh, boy! Snow!”

If it hadn’t been so slippery – whoa there – I would have joined Freya in her ‘oh, boy’ belly-up joy.

Ice and snow cast the world in a different light, a magic that always reminds me of my New England childhood. Despite the tick-tick-tick sound of sleet, freezing precipitation holds a silence unlike any other and offers possibilities for something different – maybe no school, time to play outside, a chance to taste Mother Nature’s snow cone, and the coming of Christmas.

Lying in bed in the dark listening to the second round of this weekend’s storm, I could almost smell hot spiced cider and hear Mother saying, “You can open one gift on Christmas Eve,” knowing the gift would be a new flannel nightgown – the joy of soft warmth. Then my father, up on the roof of our house in Connecticut, would stomp around calling, “Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas,” as my two sisters and I covered giggles of excitement and anticipation with wool blankets and Grammy’s handmade quilts.

The adult me knows the ‘whoa there’ dangers and responsibilities associated with storms. Eventually, we must go out and take care of business, just like Heathcliff. But even in the face of natural adversity, I hope to choose Freya’s ‘belly up’ joy as often as I can during this season of Advent and keep the light of hope in my heart all the year around.

What joys do you choose?


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