Iced – Look, See, Pray

Hedgerow Iced by passing Traffic

Rain, snow, flood, frost, freeze. The hedgerow along the road to Chichester has had a tough week. There wasn’t much snow here- but it fell on flooded fields and roads, partially thawed, and re-froze when the east wind stuck claws into Sussex. Where the thaw had melted snow, the water drained onto our local roads. Typically covering half the road, traffic had to go through the floodwater. As a commuter route, the actual road surface is de-iced and gritted- and the meltwater has nowhere to go.

Something beautiful has happened.

As the spray hit the brambles and hawthorn, it froze solid. Every vehicle splashed more icy water, and the ice “enamelled” the hedge into light-splintering diamond icicles. In places there are thick posts of ice like organ pipes. The air is so cold that spray freezes on contact with the icy stalactites.

Plants encased in this ice are having a BAD time. They are helpless in these circumstances. Even though they suffer the indignity of being iced, they have become far more beautiful than the rather bedraggled scruffs of December. They will be freed from their cage, probably in the next few days- but will only gain liberty in exchange for beauty. Until Spring comes.

I can identify with these icicles.

Lock down has been a freezing of experience and emotion. Energy is drained, motivation has gone on holiday (the only bit of me likely to go on holiday in the foreseeable future). Movement is restricted (for VERY good reasons!) and freedom is curtailed until the pandemic is controlled: the vaccine is a shining new symbol of Spring!

My questions to myself: is the trouble all round me making me an object of beauty in the sight of others? Can the grace of God within me transform a trial into a triumph?

A prayer: Lord God of Icicle and Sun, I would like to avoid the unpleasant parts of life. The storms, the freezing, the gales. But I can’t. Please, therefore, take a Hand in my life; if I must be frozen, make me a sight of beauty. Let Your light shine through me, reflect from me, and gladden the hearts of the people around me. I know Spring will come. I am confident that this pandemic shall pass in due time- and I am grateful for all the people who are making a difference and being a help not a hindrance. May beauty in me bring hope to another who is sad and despairing, weary and lonely. Lord, let the Sun rise again and bring joy in place of tears. To You, O Lord, I lift my chilly fingers and frozen heart, and raise my voice in song and wonder- for You are the Lord.

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