Sunshine and Snow Piles.

Tuesday, March 9th, New Haven, CT experienced temperatures over 60 degrees fahrenheit. Sixty-four degrees to be exact. I videotaped myself standing on my porch eating dried mangoes in the sunshine so I could memorialize the miraculous moment of warmth.

As I stood on my porch, I couldn’t help but notice piles of snow lining the street. I wish I could say they were a beautiful dazzling white, but they weren’t. The snow was gritty and gray with pieces of trash half-buried throughout the piles. 

The image compelled me to journal:

“I know I sometimes contemplate moving to the West Coast, where it’s always sunny and never really gets below 40 degrees…and yet…there’s something about the totality of the seasons of New England–the hot summers, the long winters, the picturesque falls, the hope-inducing springs…

The thing about spring in New England is that it’s accompanied by snow piles. The sun can be shining at a toasty 80 degrees while piles of snow still exist in the far corners of the Stop & Shop parking lots and school bus loading zones, melting ever so slowly, sometimes drawing out the process into the summer months of June and July.

Sunshine and Snow Piles. Snow Piles and Sunshine.

There’s also such uncertainty and fickleness to New England weather. One day it’s 64 degrees and sunny and two days later there’s a 7 minute snow squall with 50mph winds. Isn’t that how life can feel? Uncertain and fickle.

Sunshine and Snow Piles. Snow Piles and Sunshine.

As much as I appreciate the sunny bliss of the West Coast (though even constant sunniness can come at the cost of wildfires and droughts), the sunshine and snow piles of March 9th highlight New England seasons’ ability to embody the BOTH-AND nature of life: BOTH the sun can be shining at 70 degrees AND a dirty snow pile can be sitting next to me in my backyard as I lay sprawled out on a beach towel reading bell hooks&Audre Lorde. Similarly, I can experience the cold, slow, and not-so-pretty process of melting back to health after disappointment/heartache/really hard life circumstances/the state of our world, AND at the very same time experience warmth in the form of FaceTimes, Earl Grey tea, and unexpected deliveries of homemade Focaccia bread.

Maybe I’m the snow pile. Melting and healing. Maybe I’m the green bud underneath the snow pile. Growing and trying to find my way to the sun.  Maybe I’m the sun. Or maybe I’m the snow pile AND the green bud AND the sun–maybe I’m all the things because that’s what it means to be human. Maybe we are all like the seasons of New England. We are blizzard and sunshine, we are decaying maple leaf and budding tulip, we are fireworks and bonfire, sledding and swimming…”

And so I pray:

Dear Divine Love, 

Help us navigate this world full of sunshine and snow piles, and help us find the courage to name the sunshine and snow piles that coexist within ourselves. Give us compassionate vision to embrace the fullness of what it means to be a living, breathing human in an ever-changing world. Help us believe that: 

We are beautifully, wonderfully, and messily BOTH-AND.

We are divinely created.

We are sunshine and snow piles. 

We are always and already loved.  

Amen.

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