Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Monday, December 11, 2017


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a place of winter For the Years of Winter…

Spring and summer are times of planting and of growth. Autumn is a time of harvest. Winter is the fulfillment of all the seasons past, a time to pull all the scattered pieces of seasons past into a final wholeness. In winter we still plant and cultivate and harvest, but in new ways.

When you live in a place of winter, where you dare not plant anything outside until after Memorial Day-or your new plants will be only memorials themselves after the freeze that haunts spring like a zombie craving the brains of vegetarians-you push the season forward any way you can, so a place of winter is a place of hanging baskets, that can be brought inside when a night is too cold.

The freezes are not the only pillagers of springtime. There are four-legged predators, too, that want to eat the fruits of your work. Rabbits and deer will munch anything you plant, no matter how much you paid for it. So a place of winter is a place of flower boxes, high on railings on porches and decks, too high for rabbits, and where deer will not venture.

Gardeners in winter years fret with the work but cannot give it up. They get down onto their knees and cannot get back up. That’s okay. If you have to stay on your knees, you can feel a lot of humility and do a lot of praying. But baskets and boxes give you room to plant and dig even if your knees won’t bend.

There is a growing season, even in winter, but it is for flower boxes and hanging baskets. There are predators in winter, freezes and deer and rabbits, that will devour your blooms if you put them out too far. Winter is a time to keep your flowers close, and to be sure they are not vulnerable to those that devour buds and blooms.


The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where life is defined by winter even in the summer! I wrote this when we lived there 2007-2015.

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