I’m dreaming of a white… Thanksgiving? I, personally, have never experienced a white Thanksgiving. Or Christmas for that matter. Or really any time of the year. I grew up in Tennessee, middle Tennessee to be exact, and snow just wasn’t really on the radar. The moment snow showed up in the air, every grocery store in the area ran out of milk and bread, people boarded up their windows, and school was canceled for the month – alright, not quite like that, but it certainly seemed that way. I always avoid the roads because no one knows how to drive. The area I lived in was unprepared, they didn’t have the necessary salt or vehicles to handle it; enough so that an inch or two of snow made the roads treacherous.
All of that to say, snow in Tennessee wasn’t a thing. This Thanksgiving, I spent my time in the North Woods of Wisconsin, an area with an average annual snowfall accumulation of nearly 70 inches, to visit my sister at the camp she was working with. In my time there, a mere three days, I witnessed five of those 70 inches, for what would become my first “white” holiday ever.
November 25th, 2015, early morning rain. I went for a walk towards what was called “ski hill” in the back side of the camp’s main campus. Still quite beautiful, but a wet, familiar beautiful. The forest leaves heavy laden with water and dripping down loudly. As much noise from the drips as from the rain itself. The rain felt larger than reality as it fell from the branches above. A deer far off in the woods noticed me and after a moment’s hesitation, skittered off into the wild. Thoroughly soaked at this point, a made my last push towards the hill. How marvelous, I thought.
After an uneventful walk back, I took part in the festivities, sad that the forecast had gone from snow to rain, and eventually went to bed.
November 26th, 2015, a dark room. I stood up, and walked to the window to let the morning sun light the room. A white blanket graced the ground, entire tree limbs weighed down by the burden of the snow. I went for a walk towards what was called “ski hill” in the back side of the camp’s main campus. Snow crunched underfoot and snowflakes melted the moment they touched my exposed skin. I followed the trail of a deer as he and I wondered our way up the road. Trees creaked under their soft burdens and the sky remained lit without a sun to be seen. How marvelous, I thought.
My first white holiday. I got back from my walk, spent the day with family and enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.
November 27th, 2015, the day after snowfall. If it’s possible, the day after was even more beautiful. A five inch layer of snow covered the ground in its white beauty. Perhaps it’s my inexperience or naivety, but the snow was more than beautiful. It represented something besides itself. On a holiday that is all about giving thanks for what we have, the earth itself covered itself in a white blanket, ready to be made new. Trees left their leaves to warm themselves under their white comforter. The flowers made their way to the ground, only to return again. The animals, fattened as we were after our Thanksgiving dinner, slept warm in their homes, waiting for the world to be prepped for spring.
And I was there to observe. I watched as the world covered itself. I watched as the canvas was made new. I watched as snow made a holiday new for me. I watched as thanks was given.
Thanksgiving is a day to remember. To send gratitude and pay homage to whatever you see fit. I gave thanks to God for the abundant provisions he’s blessed me with, the family he surrounded me with, and the beauty he graced the ground with. After a new experience like this, I wonder how it’s changed my view of thankfulness and gratitude. I wonder in what ways the new white canvas has prepped me to be made new as the ground itself was… only good things, I assure you.