When it catches you

The cardinals stayed busy even in the snow, York County, February 2016. This is a view from our kitchen window as one perches on the deck railing.

The cardinals stayed busy even in the snow, York County, February 2016.
Here’s a view from our kitchen window as one of them perches on the deck railing.

“The earth is covered…..and it is falling still in silence so deep that you can hear its silence. It is snow to be shoveled, to make driving even worse than usual, snow to be joked about and cursed at, but unless the child in you is entirely dead, it is snow, too, that can make the heart beat faster when it catches you by surprise that way, before your defenses are up.” — Frederick Buechner

This is the rest of the quote that I featured in a post that published more than three years ago, in December 2012, when this blog was very new.  It describes how I felt one recent morning as I looked out on the snow that was still coming down.  I had been up late the previous night, and peeping outside just before I retired, was startled to notice that a few flakes had started to fall and were accumulating quickly on the frozen ground.

Somehow, I didn’t expect it to amount to much more; we were in York County, where snow falls much less often than it does in the DC area.  When I awakened the next morning to the news that it was still falling, I raced for my camera, enthusiastic as a child.  In the back of my mind, all the usual nagging thoughts were hovering; would we be able to drive back to Alexandria, as planned?  What appointments would I need to cancel?  How much shoveling would we have to do this time?  But mostly, I felt excited.

I think many of us still have a good bit of child alive inside us.  What objects or events make you aware of this part of yourself that may lie buried beneath the responsibilities of everyday life? When are you most likely to feel the energy of a much younger person recharging your mood?  Are there any aspects of life that enchant you even though they may complicate life a little, or a lot?

I hope that today– or sometime very soon– you will find yourself caught by surprise in the most delightful way.

Alan, that photo is dedicated to you, my fellow admirer of Cardinals!

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia! This blog is perfect for me today, as I just heard the snowplow go by, shortly after 5AM, and will soon be bundling up to clear the bottom of the driveway. It’s a little windier than I’d like, at 13 degrees, so hopefully the exertion will keep me warm enough (and at 13 degrees, the snow should be dry enough to move more easily) for the short time I’ll be out in it. Yesterday when I was shoveling, a cardinal flew right by me, too!
    Yes, I think snow awakens a more youthful me, within. I realized that, as I confessed to my physical therapist that maybe I was a bit more stiff / sore after having built a snow fort after a recent wetter snow!

    • Susan, I’m so glad you were able to enjoy the snow, even if you did pay for it with a bit of sore muscles later. Whenever that happens to me I always wonder if my body is trying to tell me something, but for me it’s never “do less” but “if you got more and better exercise, this would not happen” :-). I know you stay very active so that’s probably not what happened with you In any case, I think some good outdoor fun is worth it!

  2. Julia,
    Thank God for the child in any of us. Never lose it. For joy then is always just ahead.

    • Thank you Alan! I really need to be reminded of that right now.

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