It was my third snow day in a row. Snow doesn’t normally accumulate here, and I had been enjoying the mandatory introvert time. I spent the afternoon diving into The Sun Also Rises. I have an odd relationship with Hemingway in that I have not read much of his work, but I suspect that I won’t like him. As if my tastes and his style don’t pair. And yet what I have read of his, I do like, in frustratingly inarticulate ways. By late afternoon, however, I decided that getting dressed and going out might be healthy for me, even if I’m perfectly content holed up in my nest. So I decided to go to mass.
It was the first time I had walked to mass since the weather had gotten cold back in the fall. My car was still under a few inches of snow, so it would be faster to walk than to unearth and defrost the car. The sidewalks had been cleared (mostly), and the temperature was reaching 40, so it was a pleasant walk. I didn’t even need a hat and gloves. The yards were still covered in snow, but snowmen lay on their sides, defeated by the pretty day. Families were out enjoying the weather. One family of dad, mom, and three kids were having a snowball fight. As I passed the elementary school, a father was shoveling the school’s walk while his daughter was sledding nearby. They had built a mound of snow at the bottom of the hill to stop her from sledding into the benches or out in the street. Everyone appeared cheerful and happy to be outside after so many snow days, but there was also a peacefulness hanging in the air.
There is something about the way the sun looks in winter. It’s pastel and low and unassuming. The yellow sun and blue sky and white ground blend together, like some New England landscape painting. The world is pristine and slow and quiet. There is just me and my thoughts and images that bring to mind Norman Rockwell.
Mass on Valentine’s Day summed up in four words: all the single ladies. As much as I hate “Jesus is my boyfriend” comparisons, Jesus is a pretty good choice for a Valentine’s date. Going to church gets away from all the facebook posts of flowers and candy hearts and focuses on martyrs instead. Which is still a focus on love.
It was dark when I walked home. The temperature had dropped, but there was no wind. All was still and quiet. There are not lampposts on my street, but the snow illuminated my path. It did not seem dark. My ipod began playing the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” which made me laugh since the sun was gone. But the song still felt like it fit. It was night, but I could see my way. The divide between day and night seemed as hazy as a winter sun.
“The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose” –Ecclesiastes 1:5 as quoted in The Sun Also Rises