ValueSpeak
A Weekly Column
By
Joseph Walker

RAINBOWS IN THE SNOW

The thing that bothers me about snowstorms is the rainbows.

Or rather, the lack of rainbows.

This occurred to me this morning after spending an hour scraping several inches of snow off of my driveway and sidewalks.  For the third time.  In 12 hours.  For those of you who don’t live in snowy climates . . . well, imagine finishing mowing your lawn, and then looking back at where you started mowing and seeing that it already needs to be mowed again.

And then, four hours later, again.

And then the next morning when you wake up, again.

It’s been that kind of winter for us this year, which is why I started thinking about rainbows.  The Bible tells us that the rainbow at the end of a rainstorm (or as it says in the scripture, “my bow in the cloud”) is a symbol of God’s promise that He will never again destroy the world by flood.  But He never said anything about snow, which today makes me wonder if we should read something ominous into the fact that there are no rainbows at the end of snowstorms.

Assuming, of course, that snowstorms ever actually HAVE an end.

And yes, I know that the global warming folks will be quick to point out that this is some sort of meteorological trick brought on because the planet is actually heating up – honest, they wouldn’t kid us about this – so therefore it snows more than any of us around here can remember.  Now, I’m not a scientist – just ask Mr. Siddoway, my erstwhile high school science teacher, who made it a habit to put away the Petrie dishes whenever I walked into the lab.  I just know that my back is sore from lifting shovels full of globally warmed white stuff.

Which feels awfully cold to me.

So I’m looking for rainbows in the snow – if not the covenanted kind, at least the kind that make it all seem worthwhile.  For example, the easiest rainbow to spot on the snowy horizon can actually be seen coming out of my kitchen faucet.  We have water all year round because we have hundreds of inches of snow in our mountains.  This is especially meaningful this year because we are coming out of several years of drought (that sound you just heard was a hearty “HA!” from the global warming lobby).  Shoveling snow – even two or three times a day – seems like a small price to pay for a year’s worth of green lawns, flushed toilets and long, hot showers.

Not to mention the cool water we will drink on those globally warmed days.

I see another rainbow on my sore muscles (and no, I didn’t go get tatted up in a sudden outburst of snow-induced madness). They are sore because I’m actually using them instead of allowing them to atrophy while sitting in front of the television set or the computer.  I’m outside, breathing fresh air and exercising muscles that desperately need the exercise.  Evidently, that’s not a bad thing.

Who knew?

There’s another rainbow hovering over my memory of a pleasant conversation I had with my 17-year-old son, Jon, as we worked shoulder-to-shoulder clearing away the residue of last night’s storm.  And another illuminating the kindness of neighbors who refuse to be bound by property lines as they shovel their way down the sidewalk.  And then there are others popping up all over snow country as compassionate “Samaritans” pause to help strangers in icy distress.

Turns out there are rainbows all over the place out there.  You’ll see them in the harshest winter blizzard, or even in the overwhelming pleasantness of a balmy day at the beach.  There are rainbows marking the hidden blessings that life holds for all of us.  It’s just that sometimes we have to look pretty hard to find them.

And we have to use a snow shovel.  Again and again and again.

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— © Joseph Walker

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Look What Love Has Done:  Five-Minute Messages to Lift Your Spirit. 

"How Can You Mend a Broken Spleen?  Home Remedies for an Ailing World."