This past week, the cold has been so deep it hurts. There is cold, and then there is painful cold. Twenty-four below zero is a painful kind of cold. It always seems to be very still when it happens, no wind, just deep, penetrating cold. The picture was taken at sundown. When it is cold and still like this, light tends to shoot straight up in channels. I've seen it happen at night when lights from the ground appear to shoot up, but I've never seen the setting sun look like this. I don't know the science behind it, I just know it happens.
The cows are sustaining themselves just fine as long as we are diligent to get to them with hay and cake. Hubs goes out in the tractor and I take the pick-up truck with the cake feeder. NumberOneSon feeds the weaned calves with a bale processor contraption that works quite nicely. The cows were huddled together in the draw out of the wind this morning. The wind did pick up today and the temperatures rose with it -- about 4* above zero for a high. It still felt very raw and bitter to me.
The sheep have a deep, woolly fleece that protects them from this cold. It doesn't seem to bother them at all, but I know their tummies get empty and they need to fuel up too.
As I was out in choring, feeding the livestock, and chopping ice to open water tanks, I was thinking about how the cold is often used to describe a heart without love -- chilly, bitter, biting, frozen, hard, icy, arctic, lifeless, dark, empty, frigid, stiff, numb, painful, dead. When I came into the house and took off all my frosted coat and pants and wet mittens and set my boots beside the heater, I thought of how that same cold heart feels when it comes into the warm presence of the Love of Jesus. There can be prickly pain as the icy hardness starts to melt and soften the once stiff ,frost-bit flesh; there is a heightened awareness of how cold the cold really was when the flesh comes back to life and begins to move and feel once more. There is a desire not to go back to that frigid cold, but instead to sidle up to the warmth of the kindled fire burning in the stove, to get as close as possible without catching fire, to breath in the warm air and drink up a hot mug of steamy tea or coffee, to sit and soak it in until all the blood runs warm again.
Let's light a candle. It's Advent and He is near to warm us and light the way.
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you..." ~James 4:8