Frozen Ground

Winter has finally arrived in Northern Virginia. Today’s low of 19 and high of 32 promises snow if there’s any precipitation.

Even if there’s no snow, there is frozen ground, ice in little puddles, and that strange crystallization of earth that was swampy yesterday and today crunches like tiny ice cliffs in a Lilliputian landscape. My morning walk with our dog — on a different woodsy path– was possible today because of frozen ground. Some of this path is too swampy and muddy until it’s this frigid. Then we can boldly go where clean boots dare to tread because nothing sticks to us.

Hmm, I like it when certain things don’t stick to me. So my mind swirls with the wind into the possibilities of the good and bad of frozen ground. It’s easier to walk on that solid hard surface, just like it’s easier to move into new personal paths when I can freeze out the mud. You know that stuff; it’s what clings to boots, makes messy tracks, and generally slows down thoughts, words, actions and emotions from staying on the straight direct route.

The frozen air makes it easier to hear and focus on a few clear simple sounds — a pileated woodpecker, one airplane far above, the sound of my dog’s jewelry (dog tags, I mean) jiggling as she heads up and down the hills. That clear, one-thing-at-a-time focus always makes things easier.

But the frozen ground can, of course, remind me what happens when there’s no warmth. When I keep people — even those I deeply love — at arm’s length. Frozen ground might be helpful for traversing miles but it doesn’t help the flowering of emotion and intimacy and the kind of depth in relationships that comes with the sensuousness and messiness of mud.

It’s been a good walk over ground I haven’t seen for about a year. It’s time to get home for Bible reading, prayer time, and charging into my to-do list. I find a reference to the frozen ground in Job 38:29-31 (NKJV). I’ll reflect on this today and tomorrow as I think of His wondrousness. From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth? The waters harden like stone, And the surface of the deep is frozen.”Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the belt of Orion?”

Blessings and kind regards to you all.




Providential Proverbs

The small, soft leather-bound New King James Version of the Bible has been my reading companion for several years now. So I was shocked to find that I never saw its reading suggestions on how to “Read Your Bible Through In a Year.”

I like systems and plans and organization. Having a book tell me how to read it seemed novel enough to check today’s suggested reading. As Providence would have it, I thought today was September 18  instead of the 20 (denial, I think for all the things I haven’t yet accomplished this week). The Old Testament reading (for tonight — egads, now I need to up the reading to twice a day, or read all in the morning…) was Proverbs 30 and 31. There’s a radio commercial I hear from time to time from a group named Proverbs 31, but I hadn’t looked up the chapter until today. Here were the words I needed to hear to keep me on the right track of balancing taking care of my family and bringing in income. “She watches over the ways of her household” (vs. 27) and “She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard.” (vs. 16). Oh my, there’s everything about how I want to live my life in this one chapter, “The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain,” (vs. 11) speaks to how I want to help my beloved in all ways.  “She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household,” (vs. 15) is what I’ll keep in mind when I need to make lunches and get something into the slow-cooker in the early morning of a very busy day.

“She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms” (vs. 17) reinforces the delight I had in new arm-strength after placing over 1,600 pounds of mulch in the garden — by myself because I was the one who had the time. Every verse from 1 to 31 is extraordinary and it will provide a lifetime of inspiration for the ways in which I desire to live.

My prayer is that you take the time to read or re-read Proverbs 31 soon.

Blessings and kind regards to you all.