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TITLE: Where Springtime Waits
By Laura Anne Harrison
10/21/08
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Lake Champlain in Colchester, Vermont - in the dead of winter - was not “my cup of tea”. Born and bred a Southerner, I preferred the milder winters of the South. As I sat at my sister’s oblong dining table, drinking morning coffee and looking out her big bay window at Lake Champlain, my soul ached for springtime . . . My heart cried out, “Lord, speak to me in the cold bleakness of this winter. Wrap me in the warm blanket of You. In the frigidness of this winter, fill me with the springtime of Your Love and Grace . . .

The waking sun stretched from its night sleep, crawled slowly over the mountains, and painted the morning skies with streaks of apricot. The bleached world extended from the pale, milk-white sands to the foot of the whitewashed mountains. Crimson sprigs of shimmering sunlight trickled down the mountainside, spilling and weaving rays of color onto the frozen lake’s ice-blanket.

There were few signs of the living in this frigid depth of winter. In the distance, intermittent streams of foggy headlights traveled the sandbar bridge that connected the mountains with the small town. Puffy, grey smoke poured from the chimneys of several well-lit houses along the thick-ribbed ice of the shoreline. However, the summer homes that dotted the bleak hillsides were dark, empty, barren – entombed within the huge drifts of several snowfalls. Silence dropped its soundlessness void over the milky glaze of the lake, smothering the sounds of summer. The gleeful shrieks of swimmers, skiers, and wind surfers, and the rippling ocean waves rushing and pushing canoes, sailboats, and fishing vessels were only echoes in the minds of summer dreams.

As the sun climbed the skies and squeezed through shadowy, dove-colored clouds, a small city was born on the solid glassed lake. Brave, daring adventurers in trucks and automobiles made their way slowly from the snow-covered sands of the shorelines to the center of the glacial lake. Heavily bundled men, women, and children stepped from the trucks and cars onto the solid surface of the lake and boot-glided with the ease of professional ice skaters. They set up little shanty house, lit fires in small burners for heat, and dug holes in the ice for catching fish. An antique red Chevrolet drug a sled full of young boys and girls over the ice. Following the sled, a young man and women swayed and dance to the rhythm of the car and the sled.

Near the shoreline of my sister’s house, a young woman, clad in matching scarlet toboggan, ski jacket, and gloves, plowed her insulated knee-boots through snowdrifts, as she clung to the leash of the auburn Labrador Retriever walking in front of her. Trekking past my brother-in-law’s boatlift that, half-sunk in the snow, was rusting and had a flat tire, she paused by the spring driftwood tree stump that served as a small outdoor table last summer. The cloth that covered the stump was made of snow; and the only inkling of its use was an iced, crumple Coke can that reflected sunlight into unsuspecting eyes. As the young girl and her dog moved on across the shoreline at the edge of the yard, one of her gloved hands brushed snow from the sooty lamppost with it huge, black “calling in” bell. Her hand touched the bell as if she were tempted to stop and ring it. She moved on without doing so . . .

The short winter day was dying. To the west, the golden-magenta sun sauntered down from the skies and began to creep behind the mountains, leaving an afterglow of lavenders, pinks, yellows, and ambers . . . and the short day of winter died . . .

My mind drifted away from the raw, bitter coldness of winter to God’s Word. I could almost see God smile – and hear Him chuckle, as I read: “. . . lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” [Mathew 28:20b, RSV Bible] – I guess that means even in Colchester, Vermont on Lake Champlain in the dead of winter! . . . . .
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