winter with wide eyes

"Wow. You've got pretty great balance!" My cowboy boots had just come to a graceful rest at the end of a good, long slide across the snowy parking lot. Last night was the first real snow in Iowa that feels like winter and sliding with my boots just seemed appropriate.

"It's really funny that you say that, because I actually fall down all the time," as I am saying this, I realize I probably enjoy the impressive feeling of staying on my feet a little too much.

"Go ahead and get another good slide in," my friend said. I sealed my fate with a confident, "Yeah, okay!"

I think my arms flailed, but I'm not sure. The next thing I knew, my cheek was touching snow. I laughed for awhile, thinking about how I must look to someone passing by. I could see my students in Honduras shaking their heads, "Oh, typico Nichols!"

It's strange how familiar I am with these types of mishaps, but it doesn't make me want to slide on a snowy parking lot any less.

After I got the giggles out, I decided I needed to get one more slide in - because what else is there in winter, but chances to shake with shivers and breathe out smoke and run with frozen lungs? What else in winter but a more urgent joy, bundled up in mittens and stuffed into shuffled steps?

I wouldn't choose winter when I'm standing in August, but every snowy season I rediscover with wonder the urgent stillness; the thrill of goosebumps and every hair standing on end. And something whispers to my deepest place, "Hurry, before it wakes!" Running from frozen car to frozen door at work in the morning, facing near-Narnian winter winds, I can choose to relish the taste of winter.

All this talk of winter is my re-visiting of a book I finished recently by N.D. WilsonNotes from the Tilt-A-Whirl. If ever I'm tempted to shake my fist at the cold, unforgiving winter skies, I think back to Chapter 4. I think about all the treasures God has hidden in fast-moving moments today and about how I want to discover each one. If I let myself, I get excited about God's hidden treasures with the kind of abandon kids don't know how to cover up.

I want to open my eyes extra wide today, at the chance I could take in more beauty.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nTw2wTcwUZ0#!]

Living really does make dying worth it.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy