Snowdrifts of Paper {Ithilien House}

The mid-January dawn came in like a careful artist yesterday. As I typed and erased different openings for this post, she tinged the borders of our windows with a snow-washed blue. Lately she and I have been getting to know each other better, so we exchanged a quiet greeting before going about the day’s work.

Outside, she cast her brightening eye over the white bowl of the garden, while I surveyed the mounds of books, papers, and articles that have accumulated silently in my room through the early months of winter. I’ve spent the greater part of the last week sorting through drifts of ideas and outlines. Writing-related dreams — especially lengthy ones — are hard for me to break into workable doses, but I think I’ve managed to corral my favorites into six file folders.

In one folder is a young mother, who will soon discover that her son has disappeared through a long-closed passageway in the mountains. I’ve spent years collecting the images and scenes that have come to me from her homeland. I confess freely that I’m afraid to ruin the landscape by finally setting foot in it, but I think it’s almost time to follow Hale through the deep pass and begin the story.

In another folder are drafts of a multi-part post that I’ve been writing for a few months. I’m a bit baffled by how the piece has kept its momentum, and how ill at ease I’ve felt whenever I’ve stopped working on it. It’s a simple, one-woman defense of beauty in the Christian life, friends, and its conclusion will introduce a new component to this blog that I deeply hope will hearten you. The first part will (Deo volente) be up at the end of this week.

One week ago, I drove back home from an early morning appointment, wondering if the statements I made in that post were valid. I suppose any long-term project may bring on flickers of doubt — not an altogether bad thing — and this time I wondered if what I had written holds true in my own life.

At that moment, I rounded a curve and caught sight of a line of split rail fence posts, stained yellow ochre by the rising sun as it splashed sideways across the earth. That saturation of color, its transience, my placement on the road at that minute — in the span of a second they deluged me in startled joy and made me mindful, once again, that I was in the presence of the creator and master of the dawn, in whom “all things hold together.” Yes, by grace; yes, He is the source of the beauty to which I can give no further words this morning, and that thread of His nature leads us to its intersections with the truth of His Word and the constancy of His goodness.

But more on that later, friends! In the meantime, I hope you have a week filled, quite simply, with the nearness of the One who is worthy of all our wonder, and our trust.