Art, Poetry, Music, and Nature for the New Year
Wednesday, January 20 2021
The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1–2
Poet and author Patricia Hampl makes her home in St. Paul-Minneapolis, and so she knows cold. She knows winter. She knows the spiritual story of snow. In her book A Romantic Education (1981) she says about winters in Minnesota:
“The cold was our pride, the snow was our beauty. It fell and fell, lacing day and night together in a milky haze, masking everything, quieter as it fell, so that winter seemed to partake of religion in a way no other season did, hushed, solemn. It was snowing and it was silent…. We shared the pride of isolation, the curious glamour of hermits. More than any other thing I can name, the winter made me want to write. The inwardness of the season (winter is quiet) and its austerity were abiding climactic analogues of the solitude I automatically associated with creativity. ‘Minneapolis—a great book town.’ I once overheard a book salesman say with relish. And what else was there to do in winter? Stay inside and read. Or write. Stay inside and dream. Stay inside and look, safely, outside. The Muse might as well be invited—who else would venture out?”
As winter 2021 continues to call to us “stay in” we need Hampl’s attentiveness to the joy hidden within that calling to tucked away in the warmth of the house. “The Muse might as well be invited in,” if we are going to linger here in our homes just a little while longer. And, is it not true, too, that we need that Muse evermore as we find ways to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with the Lord our God in these hard days?
O God of snowflake, snowfall, snowstorm and winter frost, give us a creative spirit and a warm cup of tea to tide us over and carry us through these cold winter months. Amen.