Resting in the (Prairie) Snow- by Nate Simons

He directs the snow to fall on the earth

and tells the rain to pour down.

Then everyone stops working

so they can watch his power.

The wild animals take cover

and stay inside their dens.

The stormy wind comes from its chamber,

and the driving winds bring the cold.

God’s breath sends the ice,

freezing wide expanses of water. (Job 37:6-19)


It is good and right to stop work and rest. Resting is something I must discipline myself to do. It is something of which I often remind myself.. that God’s rhythm for us is that we work from a place of rest. Rest first!


So. this winter I have taken a few minutes several times to rest in the snow and to understand our Dad’s presence in the moment and in the snow.


My three oldest grandkids (Courben, Judah, and Grace) and I took hikes through the prairie and onto the railroad tracks. The snow-covered mowed trail offered the path of least resistance for the little one and for four-footed friends. We followed animal tracks. Rabbit. Deer. Coyote. Did you know that a rabbit at full speed bounds a fill seven feet?


Aimee and I dusted off our antique cross country skis and made tracks through and around the prairie. Aimee considered it exercise. I called it rest.


A small flock of tree sparrows with their russet caps and dark-dimpled breast have made our prairie home for the winter. There is plenty of aster, goldenrod, and Indian grass seed left to glean. And cover from the wind. The wing prints in the fresh, powdery snow mark the birds’ activity.


The dark, dried seedheads and desiccated whorl of leaves of Culver’s root is easy to spot as it contrasts with the snow. And I found a new location to collect wild seed of the plant next year.. a fen at Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Area.


Field mice, as light weight as they are, press into the fresh snow. You can’t go around it. You can’t go over it. So you gotta go through it (or under it).


Stopping to observe and appreciate the beauty of snow on the prairie is rest.


The prairie plants are resting, too. One third of their biomass is still visible and dead standing above ground and two thirds of their biomass, in the form of roots, is alive (though dormant) below the frozen and wintry ground. The prairie is resting and waiting for renewal from a spring fire and summer’s sunshine. Then it will work to convert the energy of the sun plus water and minerals from the soil into foliage and flowers and see all over again.

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