When minus 11 C is warm
The right to be at peace, not to have people lie about who you are or what you’ve done, to not be at war, to know through and through that God loves you, to have a small plot of land – say 20 square miles, or even 164 acres, or 23.5, or 9.7, or 5.3 … and be able to live in peace, and greet people with a smile, stay warm in the cold, and cool in the heat and fed in the famines, and to drink water clear each day, and to breath fresh air.
For me it is to find the snow crunch cold a delight, and the view on top a mountain that points you in all directions so high, and to turn the wing among the clouds or loop and roll under the popcorn spotted blue sky, or between the crags of the mountains, or to sit beside the rushing river … safe
From the natural power of all that which can kill, most of all the tongue that does not know how to speak from reality because fear has tossed wild emotions and swings into the face of grace and love turning it into a dance to avoid the landmines and explosions and having yet something else taken from one.
To be in peace, to give peace, to meet fears and lies with grace … this is the promise yet to come to be.
For small things, like biking the ice, breathing clear air, basking in the warm sun, contributing to making the world a better place for everyone and carrying a camera to catch the wonders of light playing the broad ivory of ice and snow, quaking beneath to remind one that also this is not truly solid, but for now (post -30) it is sufficiently safe and solid.
The wonder is that more would not venture to bask in the warmth.
What is -11 after -30, but warm.
Where is light, after the dark, but across the horizon to the nearest step.
For now home will have to be this and enough.
Until the light of grace guides us home.
It’s a Little Cold Out
As I write this the temperature has dropped to minus 27 Celsius and it’s going to continue dropping says the forecast until it’s minus 30.
I did survival training years ago NW of Hinton. We mimicked what it would be like to be downed in an airplane with passengers needing to survive for 36 hours. Tea, the first medicine after the physical injuries were tended to, and then build a shelter for the night. Minus 20 the first night with a partner. Minus 30 the second night, solo. Third night was an all-natural shared shelter for everyone except the instructors, who slept next to a wood stove in a full shelter.
After the last night, of smoke from the shared fire, and little sleep, the thermometer was pegged below minus 40 on my rotary thermometer the next morning a few hours after sunrise.
So yesterday at minus 21, with camera in hand, with a down parka zipped up, a wool hat, simple jeans, warm boots and light enough gloves to feel the camera easily … and a great tripod, I simply enjoyed the ventures out from the warm vehicle to capture these precious photos, a profound beauty and reminder of days before the current hell I’m caught in and working to save others more vulnerable.
It’s not that it was terrific then, it’s just purgatory was decidedly not like this, and despite any temperature, what I’m working to set right, who I’m having to work to keep safe, or at least mitigate permanent damage to, the vulnerable, this kind of hell just does not seem to know beauty or truth or faith or love or hope or … well in a word, this hell has no place for the beauty of grace, the grace that saves us all.
So here they are in the same silence that I encountered them, absolute silence, with only the squeak and press of snow stepped into and upon, and breath … o precious breath that only now I have again … o precious breath that now again I have so that I can speak … well sort of.
Enjoy the beauty: for this cold is not hell, it is simple beauty, without flies or bites, a beauty that permeates everything.
Enjoy the beauty: for this as God created it and us to be; still standing, even through the hell and the cold.
These are dedicated to my little sister, who made photography for me a shared joy.
She was always better than she knew.
Copyright Tim Lofstrom 2017
Beneath this sky
One can stand
And take what is
And what is not that ought be
And what definitely ought not to be
Either with force and violence
Even if polite
With frank words that may relieve the comfortable of their abusive power
And bring comfort to those abused by being relieved of all power
Set right what is wrong,
Bring light to what is hidden in darkness,
And bring hope to those daring to expect, and hope, against all the evidence of this world.
Here it is quiet
As snow and ice eat all waves
And one walks without miracle
Miraculous that one is still able to walk,
With or without the blessings of holy
And the time to leave
Crawls up on the interloper
As the sun wanes, and is blown down the side of the side to its depths of hours long
Awaiting its rise
Departs once again.
The Light of the world
Born as a baby in a manager
Will shine in all the darkness
And make known all that is hidden.
The celebration is here, the tree is decorated and lit
All natural and golden bright.
The path I must take
Has been trod by way too many before
Striving to bring health and hope.