In northwest Oregon, as with much of the country, we've been enduring some Very Cold weather in recent days.
One of my tasks is to swap out the water in the hen house a couple times per day, pulling the frozen watering can into the shop where it can thaw and replacing it with fresh water for the thirsty chickens to enjoy. Well, that presumes chickens can enjoy a thing while standing around in sub-freezing temperatures, which may be an optimistic rendering of their experience.
But the end is in sight!
We have one more day of cold, freezing rain, then tomorrow it will be in the mid-40s for a big thaw.
Whoever thought a forecast like this would be cause for celebration? But just now some exuberance and gratitude seems right. Hearing the rain drip on the metal roof tomorrow morning will be percussive enough for my heart to dance.
This has me pondering thawing as a metaphor for the frozen seasons of life. Have you, like me, experienced glacial stretches of desolation? Most of us can recall times when it seems almost impossible to warm up relationally or emotionally, stuck in hibernation or frosty indifference to the contours of a full life.
I wonder if such a thing can happen to a whole world in the wake of a pandemic.
Then, if we are blessed, we begin to notice a thaw is coming. Colors begin to seem vibrant again, smiles (our own and others') are a bit brighter, hope shows up alongside our sorrows.
Maya Angelou, the American poet, captures this (and so many other things) well with words, slippery as they are:
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
So here's to 2024, to rising, to thawing, to living each day in the vibrancy of hope. Ours is not to deny the challenges of these most difficult seasons, but to show up with steady expectancy for what lies ahead, like a gentle Oregon rain pattering on the rooftop.
 This is one stanza of many from Maya Angelou, "Still I Rise," published in her book with a similar name.