It was supposed to rain all day, sometimes heavily with wind, but outside the window were snowflakes gently floating, some of them taking sideways turns, others moving up a bit before continuing down, light and gravity-defying like ballerinas. I was on the seventh floor. I was warm. I appreciated the show.
But it did rain a lot, and heavily, so that one premeditated every movement carefully. I had an appointment a mere half-mile away, a distance that on any other day would be easily walked. But instead I took a quick duck into the subway, waited for a train, went one stop, walked quite a bit underground, waited for another train, went one stop on it, then came up and had two blocks to walk. I had taken twice the usual time and paid for a fare . . . and was grateful not to be wetter than I was.
It was, I told them that night, a lovely gift for this erstwhile New Yorker now exiled to Dallas. I got to see snow. I got to feel wind and rain. But to indicate that I was not, as some of them were persuaded I must be, a downhearted exile, I wished them a happy Texas Independence Day.
As a boy, I longed for snow, for scenery like one saw on Christmas cards, for sleigh-bells and snowmen and shovels. Once at seminary about two feet of snow fell on New York City. For half a day there were no vehicles on the streets, just beautiful white stuff and people walking through it. But it’s followed by a week of dirty slush: the beauty hardly lasts.
Then I got ordained and in due course had a parish. Snowfalls became expensive events: we’d have to pay for the driveway and parking lot to be plowed. They also tested the roofs and gutters. Snow was a strain on the buildings and budget; it was no longer fun.
But now I live in Dallas. I can visit places where snow falls. Like a grandparent getting the joy of having children without the everyday responsibility, I drop in and soak up the beauty. Snow is fun again.
In the resurrection, Aquinas speculated, we will all be about 30 years old, about the age Jesus was at his death and resurrection. It is an encouraging thought. The burdens that come with the years will be lifted, and all things will be made new. Life, one might say, will be fun again. Or perhaps one should say, life will be fun as if for the first time.
Out & About. On Wednesday, March 14, at 7 p.m., I will give a talk on Jesus as the friend on the cross. This will be at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, 5100 Ross Ave., Dallas. You can come early at 6:30 for a light supper (no reservations; no charge), or at 6 p.m. for Stations of the Cross.