Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Finding Redemption in Strange Places

We in Chicagoland had a bit of a disappointment this week. After weeks of watching both thermometers and daffodils gradually rise, we found ourselves staring in disbelief at a blizzard-like snowfall on Sunday night. This winter started early in these parts, so this little surprise from nature was like a sneering “It ain’t over yet!” to us. A cruel trick, for sure.

After observing the thick, blowing snow in the lights of the church parking lot adjacent to our yard, I plodded into the living room and flopped down in the recliner. How discouraging, I thought. The week before Easter is not supposed to be like this! This is not Easter weather! How long have I lived in Chicago?

The next morning I was back to the all-too-familiar routine of pulling boots on, brushing snow off my car, scraping windows and side-view mirrors, and cranking the heat of the windshield defroster. Winter was still here in April, and it was Monday. What a depressing combination! I drove my usual route to work with my elbow perched against the car window and my fist propping up my dreary head.

Driving south on County Farm Road, I approached the light at Roosevelt Road as it turned red. For those of you non-locals, it’s a T-intersection, and when you are stopped at the light you are facing the woods of one of the many forest preserves in the area. I suddenly felt like I was in another dimension. Because of the wind direction during Sunday night’s storm, the north side of each tree (the side facing me) was painted white with snow. The sides and back of each trunk were bare. Somehow this emphasized the sense of depth, and it appeared that the woods were a three-dimensional scene in the midst of a two-dimensional world. It was stunning. The depressing snow created a beautiful effect that I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Redemption. How appropriate for Easter! I thought.

By the time I drove home from work yesterday afternoon, almost all the snow was melted. This morning as I stopped at that same intersection I was sorry the snow was gone from the trees and they again looked stark, brown, and flat as they awaited the no-turning-back arrival of spring. But the sun was shining! Redemption again!

Happy celebration of redemption! Happy Easter, all!


  1. Natalie StevensonApril 8, 2009 at 3:53 PM

    Kate, that was beautiful! How wonderful that the snow that we come to despise by April transformed an ordinary stand of trees into a breathtaking piece of art for your dreary Monday a.m. eyes.... I loved that you took the time to tell us all about it. Blessings, Natalie

  2. Kate, I saw the same white paint job on the trees Monday, even described it that way to Jane. But I didn't see the redemption. Thank you for opening my eyes to it.