You have seen it. You have seen it and perhaps smiled at it or cursed it. It comes at either the most opportune times for appreciating it or at the worst possible time when it can be almost deadly. Snow with the sun upon it can create amazing views.

I refer, of course, to the amazingly bright reflection of the sun off the snow. For snow enthusiasts looking across the mountainside at the reflection atop the deep layers of freshies it brings joy. A fresh layer of new powder delights the skier and photographer alike. With the right alignment of sun, snow and slope, the skiing is perfect, the photographs awe-inspiring and the day a complete success. The wrong direction of the sun’s rays, however, brings difficulty seeing, treacherous downhills and even when driving to the slopes, it can be a hazard.

A Rainbow with Snow

For those who do not ski nor even care much about venturing out into the snow, except perhaps to track a deer in the last bit of the hunting season, the sun’s rays across the field of snow can still be breathtaking. If your only plans involve being indoors near both a wide picture window from where you can see the sun play across the snow and a brisk fire blazing within a few feet, your concerns are few. Particularly if the fireside holds with it a welcoming easy chair summoning you for an early afternoon nap.

Minot AFB Photo

I am in the latter rather than the former group. My biggest fear when receiving our first assignments from Air Force Basic Training was that mine would include names like Thule, Greenland, Minot, North Dakota or even Clear Air Force Station, Alaska. Beside the geographical locations, the assignments there in the 70’s included fun things such as  Minot’s CATs and it was not a musical! These were Camper Alert Teams where a team went  out for a 3 day stint (sometimes longer depending on how deep the snow had gotten) at a remote missile site. The emphasis is on the word, REMOTE. Checking radar installations near the Arctic Circle from Clear would have been a world of fun, I’m certain! And note the name Clear Air Force Station. A station is not as big as a base which means it has less of the everyday necessities like a full size BX (base exchange), a laundry, proper housing, maybe a theater or a physician on staff, perhaps not even a ‘real’ cook… you know, basics. Thankfully, I never had the joy of visiting Clear so I cannot say what it was like in the 70’s or even now fifty plus years later.

1978 Blizzard

When I left Ohio for San Antonio in 1975, I swore I would not return. I did, however, and now I’ve been here about 65 years. I stood traffic duty in a full size blizzard in 1978. I took my wife, whose water had broken and she was about to deliver our son, to the hospital 48 miles away through swirling wind and temperatures with windchill in the minus 50 range. We had a city snowplow get us out of our driveway to begin that trek. We have endured horrific winter storms and we have had mild, nothing to recall kinds of winters. Still, though, they were winters.

Blizzard 1994

I recall having snow tunnels as a kid built from the snow blown against our house and one winter, our small dog ran off and my elder brother and I went in pursuit. Several blocks away and about an hour into the search, I could not go on, being so cold and the snow so deep. My brother built a small igloo kind of barrier from the wind where he placed me as he continued on and there I sat. It was almost dark when he came back by to retrieve me, our small beagle happily bundled in his jacket.


Years later as a volunteer firefighter we responded on a horrifically cold night to a barn fire at the edge of town. Jumping off the truck, it was obvious the ground was ice covered. I wrapped the inch and a half firehose under my arm and went as quickly as possible toward the barn. The pump operator charged the line, unbeknownst to me. The charged line under 110 pounds of pressure at the nozzle sprang to life, jerking my feet out from under me and slamming me backward on the ice. Recovering, I got into the barn where a calf had tangled himself in a pile of farm tools trying to escape. As I tried to free him from his snare,  the frightened calf leaned forward a bit me with all the force he could muster on my right thigh. His teeth went  through the rubber thigh high boots we were issued in those days. Although my thoughts were to leave him  where he stood, I freed him anyway hoping to someday see him again on a large barbeque pit.

I’m sure I could regale you with more yarns of misadventures in the snow, ice, and cold but suffice it to say, I am much more at home in a hammock, swaying lightly on a sandy beach somewhere in the Caribbean than in anything that begins with the reference to snow. God spoke to Job about snow and asked him an incredible question. “Have you visited the treasuries of the snow, or seen where hail is made and stored? For I have reserved it for the time when I will need it in war.” (Job 38:22-23 NLT) Such an amazing thought particularly if you consider history and how the snow was decisive in so many battles, the most poignant in recent history, the Battle of the Bulge in WWII. Job had declared previously, “For he directs the snow, the showers, and storm to fall upon the earth.” (Job 37:6 NLT) To consider that God uses bitter weather toward His own purposes brings a deeper meaning to the white stuff we so long for on Christmas Eve and despise on March 1st


Winter, I know is God’s method of bringing nature to a time of rest before a new season of spring life and growing begin. That is a wonderful miracle and how some animals change over the winter months or those who hibernate so that their systems are rebooted before spring is certainly God inspired. The beauty of a field covered in a fresh snow can truly be an awe inspiring sight. I thank God for His gift of the seasons and I am thankful as well that just three weeks from tomorrow which will be Saturday Feb. 26th, the Cleveland Indians (aka guardians….) will take on the Cincinnati Reds at Goodyear Park in Phoenix as the Pre-Season begins and SPRING Training is in full swing!


If there were a list of the people who dislike winter the most yet still choose to reside in NE Ohio, I would be in the top ten.

A disclaimer right off the get-go (no, not a gas station but a colloquialism meaning, the very beginning). If there were a list of the people who dislike winter the most yet still choose to reside in NE Ohio, I would be in the top ten. In 1975, when I left for the Air Force, I vowed that I would never again reside in a cold climate of my own choosing. The distinction ‘of my own choosing’ was because the Air Force has lots of great places they can send you that, like Olaf in Frozen have never even heard of summer. However, I soon returned to Ohio and here I have remained. Now all my children and grandchildren live within 35 minutes of me and my wife, Karin. Thus, there is no way we are moving now unless it is a mass exodus second only to Moses and the Israelites leaving Egypt! Now that my un-love of winter is clear to you the reader, allow me to extol some amazing things about the single moment of winter to which I absolutely look forward every year.

This year, 2020, that moment  is at 5:01 a.m. EST December 21st. As I write this, it means that at 5:01 tomorrow morning, for a single moment in time, something occurs which is the most favored miracle for those of us who are called ‘winter-haters’. I want to be clear here, ‘winter-hater’ as an epithet, I think is a bit strong, but it wasn’t us that choose it. A bunch of ‘winter-lovers’ who walk around all summer in ski-boots longing for snow chose the name.

Courtesy The Farmer’s Almanac*

Interestingly, the moment that we love the most is technically named the ‘Astronomical First Day of Winter’ not to be confused with the ‘Meteorological First Day of Winter, December 1st. At 5:01 a.m. the sun, because of the tilt of the earth on its axis, will be at its very farthest point away from the Northern Hemisphere and my beloved NE Ohio home. The sun, itself, hasn’t moved of course. It is our earth’s tilt that changes and gives us this moment in time.

At 5:02 a.m. the earth will slowly begin its tilted path corrections and from then on until the middle of summer, the days begin to grow longer! Every day after tomorrow, until my joyous celebration of life called summer, the hours of sunlight will grow to be more and more. The dark, cold of winter will slowly begin to abate and spring will be on its way back to us with all its lovely greens and vibrant colors to replace the grey and ugly drab of winter.

‘Ah… but the beautiful white snow!’ you say.

Courtesy The Farmer’s Almanac*

Sure, it’s one of God’s amazing parts of nature and a new fallen snow across a meadow or a mountain ridge is beautiful. Snow filthy dirty along the roadsides and sidewalks, tracked into the garages across Ohio both by tires and boots is a n ugly reminder of the cold, nasty parts of winter we dislike so much!

So, here is to my favorite day of winter, the Winter Solstice! Supposedly sun worshipping Druids in Ireland built Stonehenge to help them honor this day for it is at the moment of the Solstice the sun appears to sit directly on top of one of the monoliths arranged there, still how we do not know. If you have an interest, you can watch a live stream from Stonehenge this year.**

To quote Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol, who I believe through a child’s heart full of love and awe at the world, was a lover of summer like me and so many others who dislike winter, proclaimed, “God bless us everyone!”

* Information and photos courtesy The Farmer’s Almanac – “Winter Solstice the First Day of Winter” at


The Path

a little bit of time for some introspection and a chance to talk with God about life, love and the meaning of the universe

A walk along a mountain ridge outside of Keezletown, Virginia on an early morning recently allowed me a little bit of time for some introspection and a chance to talk with God about life, love and the meaning of the universe.

As I looked across at the hills in the distance and then glanced down the path in front of me, I was struck by how barren it looked. The brown and dead look of winter seemed to hang over the path like a dreary curtain pulled over the sunshine of the blue morning sky. There was no sign of green life anywhere… or so it seemed.

It seemed odd, it was late March and April was only a few days away, where was any sign of spring? I had to stop on the path, quit my focus on just moving forward and standstill to look more closely. Every brown twig that looked so bleak in passing actually held a small bud of a new leaf about to sprout. Within the next two weeks, this same path will be bursting forth in green and already some signs of pink on the cheery blossom trees were there for those who stoppped long enough to see them.

Life is like the path I was on… there are times our path seems so bleak, so dreary and there are no signs of new life. Down right depressing! But then we stop and we look a little more closely and sure enough, there are signs God is turning the world a little at a time and the change of seasons is still happening even when we fail to see it. I was blessed God allowed me a minute to stop on the path and notice the hope of spring. Maybe, I’ll be a little quicker to stop more often and take in a fesh breath of springtime to push away some of the dark winter has left behind.

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