Ive always been a city boy. I was born in Brooklyn and
work in Manhattan. So when I got married, I decided to move to the suburbs.
Instead of looking for a house in Borough Park or Williamsburg, I moved to
Flatbush, where practically every home has a private driveway and a green lawn
in the front. (For a city boy, thats considered the suburbs.)
And thus began my career as a farmer. In my
one-sixteenth-of-an-acre farm, (actually a little less, because the house takes
up most of the lot), I raise tomatoes, cucumbers and occasionally green
peppers. In a good year, I could actually get six or seven tomatoes out of a
season. Its such a rewarding experience.
And then theres my front lawn. Stretching a luxurious four
feet by eight feet, I grow what I consider to be grass. My neighbors tell me
its a specific breed called crab grass, but then they know a lot more of
that technical stuff than I do.
But my real love is my flower garden. I plant the annuals
impatiens and geraniums and black-eyed suzies. Creating the vista of color and
depth are the perennials daylilies and zinnias and rhododendrons.
Theyre my pride and joy.
I marvel at how every year the perennials know exactly when
spring starts and they begin growing and flowering all on their own. The bigger
wonder to me is, how do they manage to live through the winter? Some of those
days are freezing! At least I can wear my wool socks, wool suit and wool
Wool, of course, naturally keeps you warm; but not by generating
its own heat (the body does that). Wool is fluffy and airy so it serves as an
insulator to prevent the heat of the body from escaping.
So what do plants do?
Theres something else that does the same thing as wool.
Its called snow. It comes down in flakes, each one individually designed
with six points. They interlock one with the other, but not perfectly. Just
like someone playing Tetris for the first time, there are always spaces between
the pieces. Much of the snow on the ground after a storm consists of empty
space. That space prevents the heat of the soil from escaping just like wool
prevents body heat from escaping. By doing that, not only does it protect my
flowers from freezing, it also protects all the ants, earthworms, fungi and
bacteria that enrich and enliven the soil. (Lets assume we want to
protect those things. They have a right to live too, ya know.)
It not only protects plants and animals, snow also prevents the
underground water lines from freezing. And it gives us some great winter sports
to enjoy and it provides us with incomparable scenery in the mountains and
fjords around the world.
And you know, somehow, that sparkling white color adds to the
beauty. The color makes sense, too. Red snow would be too glaring on the eyes,
blue would just blend in with the sky, black would attract too much heat and
would melt too quickly, and we all know about yellow snow.
Another thing: guys like me arent the only ones excited
about snow. Farmers rejoice too, because without snow, there would be no winter
wheat. Snow prevents the soil from freezing solid so that water is able to
penetrate all winter long, and an entire crop can be saved. Finally, as the
snow gradually melts, it seeps into the ground soaking the soil instead of
running off the way rain does. First it acts like a blanket and then a nutrient
sort of like having your cake and then eating it too.
And while it seems to us city boys that it takes just too darn
long for the snow to melt, we will just have to continue sloshing through this
magnificent, purposeful gift from our Creator, year after year.
So the next time youre upset about digging the car out of
the snow, just think about my flowers and remember: spring is just around the