There used to be such a thing as a snow day – a day for not bothering to try to battle against the weather to get to wherever it is that we needed to be and just take a moment to reflect. This was all but destroyed by the technological capacity to work from home enhanced recently by the necessity of the pandemic. Whist there will always be those who have to brave a white out, I think snow days are important, a moment to ponder, for reflection, to take the foot off the pedal relentlessly going forward.
Sieger Köder, the German Artist and Priest is well known for his images of reflection. Particularly the reflection of the image of the face of Christ. In his depiction of the story of Photina, the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well. Not named in the biblical tradition, but thankfully in an early christian community someone chose to name her. Photina looks deep into the well and sees a reflection of Jesus’ face next to hers looking, not back up at her from the bottom of the well, but intently sideways at her reflection as if seeing into her very soul. Photina’s reflection, however, is depicted looking back up the well at her true self. What would we see, I wonder in such a well? And what would Christ see in our reflection if we were subjected to that questioning gaze?
When the snow fell in such a hurry last Friday morning it seemed rather churlish not to go out and investigate the transformation of the trees and hillsides. By the time I had fed the cats (again) and finally gotten out of the door the sun was well up and a gentle thaw in progress. There were still plenty of virgin snow laden paths to tread. Trees and branches, hung heavy with their burden, began to release a light dusting creating a Narnian scene as if just beyond the wardrobe. I didn’t come across a well to find my reflection in, rather, it was the endless glades and paths of frosted trees which caught my gaze.
I reflected on the pristine untrodden trails, so often walked, yet for this moment unexplored. How hard it is to walk alone even when the path ahead is clear.
Tree branches hang low over the path obscuring the way. Paths once well known become difficult to follow. It is not always clear how to proceed when there are obstacles in our way.
The bench once the place of rest, yet I cannot find it within me to clear it of its frosted coating. There is often no place to rest – save for in the snow day itself.
One glade in particular catches my attention, encourages me to stop awhile and turn aside. A single young fir tree, branches draped low cloaked in snow holds a white fur coat around itself against the cold. Showers of snow fall all around it lit bright by the sun, yet, the tree itself stands in the shade its top most branches make a crude cross. The cathedral of the forest I muse. A place to stop, to notice where the beauty all around is reflected back in each falling flake and drop of water. If only we had time to pause more often and reflect would we, like Photina, begin to see a little more?