It came earlier than usual this year.
Typically the “lake effect” snow doesn’t hit until January and then comes regularly through April. It takes the cold clippers from Canada to come down and blow over the relatively warm Great Lakes (which typically remain unfrozen throughout the winter) for there to be the sudden and blinding blizzards on the northern and western coasts of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario. But this year, it came through the first week of December; within twelve hours, over three feet of snow fell.
It’s a dangerous and killing snow.
Along the Interstate corridors, motorists watch for the blinking warning signs that Lake effect snow is on its way, and they know to get off the road as soon as possible. When it hits, your windshield suddenly seems to be covered with a white sheet of butcher paper. The snow pierces the sky horizontally, causing deadly pile-ups, snowplow mountains, and the need to rake one’s roof.
The Lake Effect Microclimate
It is this very same lake effect, however, which also creates a unique micro-climates in the world. The warmer lakes prevent early frosts in the fall and keep the temperature a little warmer until spring. Conversely, the lake absorbs the heat of the summer, making the air over the adjacent land cooler and more temperate. The increased snowfall permeates the sandy soil so deeply that it is retained throughout the year.
As a result, the very same coasts which suffer the onslaught of lake effect snow are provided some of the world’s best growing conditions for berries, apples, grapes, and peaches. It is this very same lake effect which creates this perfect climate for these specialized farmers and these incomparable crops.
God can be seen in the processes which He has created. Just as with the lake effect snows, nothing which God has created is bad or evil. There is always a good and wonderful purpose. We must, however, be willing to look for it.
Walking More Slowly
This Advent, is there a difficulty or a tragedy which you are facing? Is there suffering in your family? God works through all events and processes, even those which seem the most detrimental and painful at the time.
Because of illness or tragedy, we are required to depend more upon one another, thereby growing closer to family members or to an ill parent whom we may never see again.
What seems like a hard road to travel is truly a way to make us walk more slowly and purposefully in our lives, and examine the beauty of the details and gifts we see along the way.
Often the limits which have been placed upon us by illness, income, or inequity are the means by which we can truly understand and love others whom we have ignored in the past, and thus be more deeply understood and loved in return.
The Gift Within the Suffering
Like the blizzard of lake effect snow, we are so often blinded to the God-given gifts that are hidden within the wrapping of suffering and heartache. Sometimes it is only by living with or through that suffering that we truly understand the gift within.
So thank you, God, for the snow, and the effects of Your love.