First of all, please remember, if your community participates in the Giving Hearts Day, to make a gift to somewhere or something that means something to you. I’m not normally someone who goes for “gimmicks” and I don’t like being manipulated, but if there has ever been a time when we as Americans can make use of our resources to help our country and our communities become better and to have the resources needed to care for others – it’s now. Even if you can only give $10, and only 1 million people out of 330 million in our country do the same, that would infuse $10 million into the charities of our country on one day. Cheri and I have already given early this morning – please do the same!
It’s the Blue Time in the Dakotas, and across the northland. First off, it’s been snowing about every day, but not the kind of snow you might know. It’s so cold out, that the sky shifted overnight from cloudy 24 hours/day, to absolutely clear, day and night. What most people will say is that at -20, it’s too cold to snow, and without any cloud cover, there is nothing to hold heat in at all. It’s like when you were little, looking for something to eat in the refrigerator, that a parent would yell, “Just find something, and shut the fridge door! We don’t need to pay to cool off the entire house!” I think someone left the fridge door open, in a truly meteorological sense.
So, it’s snowing when it’s too cold to snow. I’m not sure what else to call it, but apparently the temperature in the upper atmosphere makes our temp on the ground feel like we are at spring break or something, and it’s so cold that the small amount of water vapor in the atmosphere just freezes, and drops to the earth. It actually looks more like a bad case of dandruff on the cars and door steps. Not enough to shovel, or even to trouble with at all, except to run the windshield wiper a few times, but looking up into a clear sky, it reminds you of truly how cold things can get.
But I mentioned it’s the Blue Time. That’s not because everyone is sad, or depressed, although that certainly could be the case, and the word on people’s lips as they come in from outside, or climb into a car that is not quite warmed up is the fine adjective “stinking,” as in “Man, it is stinking cold out there!” “When is this stinking cold going to go away?” When the answer of course is “not for a while.” We end up in last place in the Race for Spring contest – every year. Of course, we are undefeated when it comes to the Race for Winter event. Not even close. And by the way, there are some who revel in coarse, vulgar lives who may offer a different adjective than “stinking,” but I’ll leave that to your imagination.
But back to Blue Time. It’s a strange phenomenon. At both dawn (which comes about at 8am) and dusk (which comes a bit after 5pm), with a cloudless sky, and the ground completely covered with what by now is old snow – not that pretty flaky stuff that falls like Christmas magic – no, it’s old and crusty, and at this point in the season, no one – I mean NO ONE – looks outside their window, or steps outside their home, and says, “Oh – look how pretty the snow is!” No. They are just as likely to call the snow “stinking” as well. But with a constantly clear sky, and constantly super frigid air temps, and a constantly snow-covered landscape, if you happen to be outside or driving home from work or just glance out the window, if your mind and your eyes are truly tuned to see the world around you, you will observe that everything is blue. It’s as if the sky and the snow got together and made an agreement, but nothing is white at that time, and even the clear blue sky takes on a different hue of blue – more pale, more luminescent. From sundown until complete dark and the stars are out, and from the first early moments when you get up around 5am or so, until the sun actually rises, the entire world has a blue filter on it. It doesn’t last long, but it is so pervasive, so completely dominating that it can almost make you believe you have crossed into a new world of sorts. It’s a winter pastel, painted with a broad brush, and only the trees, the cars and the houses are spared from being totally consumed by the Blue Time – although even they are tinged ever so slightly with the surrounding atmosphere.
In a few weeks, this will be gone, and hopefully the temp will rise above freezing in about a month or so, and the snow will start to melt, and we will once again realize that there has been grass under the snow blanket all winter. With no more snow, and the possibility of rain in April, the blue will go away, and we will return to that “normal” look of the world that folks in the South claim all year round. For now, however, as we slowly slide through the Arctic season, and use our remote starts to let our cars run for 10-15 minutes before we go out to them (even though every expert – who probably lives in the South – says there is no need to run the car to warm up! I wonder if they have ever sat in a car that has spent the entire night at -25?), we can take a little enjoyment in seeing a blue world, where the snow falls with no clouds, and everything around us, at least for a little while, lives in the calm, quiet blueness of life.
Enjoy your day…
Word for the day: eleemosynary. Pronounced el-eh-MOSS-in-airy. A great word for today, as it has traveled from Greek to Latin to Italian to a number of other languages to become a fairly obscure word that has been replaced with more common language. Still, it’s a neat word. It comes at its root from eleos, meaning “pity.” Eleeo “I have pity.” The word took on the larger sense of showing pity by the giving of alms to the poor, and today, eleemosynary is the adjective that pertains to charity, and charitable giving. Your church depends on your eleemosynary actions. When folks in my congregation would ask how much the church needs, my response was always, “Everything you have!” The Church is not a bank or investment company – or at least it never should be. Instead, it gives away all that is given to it – an entire eleemosynary circle. So today, be sure to act eleemosynous for Giving Hearts Day. And feel good about it.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.