Sunday, 4 January 2015

A Grace of the Heart

I'm not sure if what I'm going to say will make sense to anybody other than an introvert, but here goes...

I have lifted all the following pictures from
where you can find them, and many other treasures.

I guess it is not unusual 
to feel a little tug of excitement at the first sight of falling snow.

Even when we know the inconvenience, 
and sometimes sheer misery it is going to cause,
 the beauty of the transformation being wrought 
has an inevitable fairy tale charm.
(At least in those first moments).

Here in the U.K. we usually have so little of it,
 novelty value alone is worth something.

As a child in the hills of Wales,
winters seemed more severe than they are now.

We would quickly get snowed in,
 and my poor mother would fight desperately
 to keep a way out open.

As soon as the way was opened I remember 
it would freeze again at nightfall,
 and often Mam would tug the drawn curtains aside 
to watch the swirling flakes hurrying through the blackness
 to fill the way she had so recently cleared

I  knew the work and worry it caused her
 just to keep us in the basics of food and fuel,
walking icy miles around the drifts 
to get what  supplies she could carry.

I knew the sheep on my uncles farm 
would need to be searched out of what ever winter fastness they had found for themselves away from the safety of the farm,
and that men, dogs,
 and the beasts themselves would be at risk.

I knew the attendant difficulties and anxieties all too well,
 so I had no excuse for the continuing song in my heart asking the snow to close in around us 
as tight as my mother's nursing shawl.

As simple as it sounds it was the thought we were shut in 
which thrilled me so much.

For me there was a wonderful freedom
 in being held in the silent heart of the snow. 

The whole world,
(as far as I could reach it),
smelt different, with a clean, sweet smell.

The silence too was sweet,
bound as it was by the mourning of the wind in the chimneys,
or sloughing around the sides of the house,
 carrying flurries of snow on it's breath.

I knew all too soon the drip, drip,
 of the thaw would break through, 
with it's dirty grey weals 
wounding the purity of the crisp white skin
that had appeared impregnable while the cold held.

Life would return to normal,
 and the ordinary day to day comings and goings,
noise and disruption would ensue.

Snow or no snow,
strange kid that I was,
I truly preferred it the other way.

I have been reminded of all this in the weeks of Advent.

As I tried to keep an inner silence in my wait
 for the coming of the Christ Child,
I often became aware of a silence of the heart,
like the fastness of my early snowbound home.

I puzzled over the sensation,
trying to tease a meaning from the sense memory,
so sweet, and fresh, and pure;
so other than than my own heart.

I am left with the sense that a new word for 2015 was forming, (unrecognized 'til now),
for my prayerful focus.

I believe my new word is

For so long I have yearned for
 the inner sanctuary of my heart to be a place, 
not only to withdraw and know God's peace
 when I am disposed to be peaceable,
 but for there to be at the core of my being
 an engine room of peace,
 so badly needed by my volatile disposition.

I am so truly grateful for tastes of the deep tranquility
I feel I have been shown
 through these memories of the silent holding
 of the pure mantle of the snow, 
with the warm lamp of home burning love at the centre.

May He be our Home and our Hearth,
Our Peace and Our sweet Keeping.

Be Blessed


  1. Hazel, this is so beautiful - and peace-giving. I have visited your blog and read this a couple of times before but have been too busy to appreciate what I have read. This morning I decided to set aside the time and linger to enjoy your post. May your deep peace linger in your heart forever. Blessings and prayers.

  2. Lynda, your kindness is a real gift. Thank you so much.

    Love and Blessings. x