(click to enlarge)
Someone prayed right. North of Manchester, at Manchester Waterworks, it got down to 28 degrees (F) last night, and I also noticed the morning temperature map showed frosts over towards Vermont, however here it only dropped down to around 37, (although it might have been colder in the wee hours of the morning,) before a wonderful blanket of clouds slid over us. There was even a bit of rain on the slopes of Mount Manadnock, with some sleet mixed in, around dawn.
Such a blanket didn’t seem likely, with the cold air dry and dew points down in the low 20’s. The cloud cover wasn’t forecast, and only after the fact can the weather service speak of “an upper air disturbance that swung down in the flow from the north.”
I suppose it would be safest to leave it at that, or at most to speak of “a stroke of dumb luck,” but to an apple farmer, who expected to awake this morning to a ruined crop, awaking to see his blossoming trees not blighted, and instead still standing like billowing clouds of pink, it must seem a miracle. In my mind’s eye I can see a man walking midst his trees in the morning chill, still not really daring to hope, (as we still have one more cold night to get through,) but filled with a sense of amazement and gratitude. Even if he gruffly states, “I’d say it is a case of so-far-so-good,” there is a private part of him that is down on his knees.
Few consider, as they pick up an apple at a market, the sweat, anxiety, and heart involved in growing it. They may feel a slight wonder if the apple comes all the way from New Zealand, but likely not even the wonder of holding a fruit from the far side of the planet dawns on them. Apples are taken for granted, and don’t seem all that important to a nation where even the poor are often fat.
It is a whole different story for the fellow who grows the fruit. A single degree of temperature can make or break, an unexpected bank of clouds can save you, only to be crushed a month later by a hail storm. Life is precarious, and when you live under such conditions you look heavenwards more often.
(At this point all atheists are dismissed. I don’t want to annoy anyone.)
People behave differently when life and livelihood becomes precarious. Few believe in ghosts at high noon, but walking by a graveyard at midnight sees people taking new possibilities into consideration. People who never give God a second thought abruptly find themselves talking to him, when they abruptly find themselves in the middle of a car crash. And it is said there are no atheists among soldiers in foxholes.
One thing people consider is what brought about seemingly divine intervention, when they seemed graced, or divine wrath, when they feel punished. Life is full of winters and summers, slumps and streaks. At times this verges into superstition, and you’ll see a baseball ballplayer tap home plate a certain way, or draw a cross in the dust with his bat. Other times you’ll see people blame others for doing some deed that brought bad weather, even to the point where some are persecuted as witches.
Much of such superstition is somewhat appalling, most especially when it is motivated by hate and/or fear, but also when it is fueled by selfish greed. I don’t imagine God cares all that much for hokus-pokus, mumbo-jumbo mantras, muttered by rote in Latin or Sanskrit, when there is no true love involved.
However when true care is involved, whether it be care for a neighbor or care for God, I have lived long enough to see some things happen that seem like an otherworldly response. You can call them “coincidences,” if it makes you feel better, but, whatever they are, they fill you with wonder, and also a sense of joy.
This morning, when a frost which seemed impossible to avoid was wonderfully avoided, I found myself thanking God, but also wondering something new and, (to me,) interesting. It did not seem my personal actions or prayers had been especially deserving of Grace, and therefore I figured some one else must deserve the credit. Someone I didn’t know had done some caring thing I didn’t see, and had earned a smile from above.
It is far nicer to look around, and wonder who the good person might be, than it is to scowl around surmising who you ought burn as a witch. Rather than a cold, unloving and frosty attitude towards others, it is frost free.