Cold, Wet, Rainy and Blessed

I stepped outside to the get the paper this morning and immediately noticed that smell. It’s the smell we northern mid-west America dwellers become familiar with as the harbinger of change.

That smell is crisp, biting, cold and wet. It shoots up your nose and into your brain, seeking out every memory of warm sunshine and hot sand between the toes and causes them to fade into a dull gray in the minds’ eye.

That smell simultaneously lays to rest any fantasy of an Indian summer, rings the death-knell of autumn and announces the coming snow.

Fitting that it should come just days after we stopped thanking God daily for bringing the dew, and began offering thanks for wind and rain.

As I wrote last year, I have mixed emotions about this blessing, living in a climate where snow can be reasonably expected from Halloween until just after Passover (yeah, I know I mentioned Halloween. Deal.)

However, after our trip to Israel, I have a new perspective. Visiting a different country puts a whole new spin on “how’s the weather” conversations. I mean, when you are halfway around the globe you really are interested in what the weather is like. Which is why I was awestruck to find out that Israel has a rainy season that lasts 3 months a year – in a good year. At the time, I ruefully noted that 3 months is about the amount of time we get at home for sunshine.

On the flight home, a fellow traveler commented that she had been in Israel for 6 months and hadn’t seen a single day of rain during that entire time.

That made me think about the cycle of our prayers. Having had just the smallest taste of Israeli life – carrying liters of water everywhere and being very conscious of shade – I have a sense that maybe the point isn’t to selfishly thank God (or in this case, grumble about being required to thank God) for what *I* have, but rather to lend my voice to the whole of Israel in thanking God for sending water – and more broadly for sending whatever is needed to sustain life –  wherever it is needed, and in the right season.

And in the meanwhile, I am quietly dusting off the snow shovel, placing stakes at the edges of my driveway, and getting ready to think warm thoughts until spring.