It is late February in Colorado; a time of year where we surprisingly get our greatest amount of snowfall. One would think that living at the foot of the Rocky Mountains would mean blankets of white flakes around the holidays. Truth be told, we get our greatest blizzards, our most intense whiteouts, and deepest snow as late as the middle of March.
We have just gone through one of those late winter storms that deposited some six inches of snow earlier in the week. By this past Saturday, the snow had been lying on the ground for several days. The day before had been filled with intense alpine winds coming in from the west. The sustained unworldly howl of these gales made for quite a chorus of sound during the prior night.
As I walked through the park with my trusted hound dog Xena; I quietly witnessed the artistic effects created by the combination of deep snow and strong wind. The turbulent air, much like a well honed tool, had carved patterns into the ice glazed blanket of snow! Frozen in place were wondrous waves etched upon the snowbanks. It was as if I was gazing upon great desert dunes composed of frigid white grains of icy sand!
A geologist would simply label it wind erosion; I preferred to think of it as a canvas painted by the strongly bristled brush of nature. What some might see as the wearing away of a surface; I saw as sculpture at its finest! The majestic moment of naturalistic splendor came crashing to an end as Xena jerked me towards the car. We had been outside for a while now and she was ready for the comforts of the heater and a comfortable back seat!
The image of the wind-eroded layer of snow has been on my mind this past day. As a child, I was captivated by National Geographic magazine. The printed pages whisked me away to places I could only dream of visiting someday. Little did I know that some years later I would be fortunate enough to have visited over seventy countries on six continents! There was one particular issue that had a surrealistic sand dune, photographed through a red lens filter, as the cover artwork. The most alluring feature of the photo was the waves that the desert winds had carved into the hardened sand!
Over the years, I have seen firsthand the effects of both wind and water erosion. I have stood in glacial fields, where ice has permanently carved away the land below. Rocks that once formed mighty mountains have laid at my feet, the victims of powerful water wearing them down to common rubble! Wind-carved arches have towered over me as I stood in awe of the splendor that simple wind can create!
Erosion is a great destructive force that is universal across every corner of the Earth. At least that is what we have all been taught. My problem is that I have had to relearn virtually everything I was ever taught. Call it a curse or a blessing; I no longer capable of seeing the world the way most do. A majority would agree that erosion is destructive; I see it as a creative force. I envision it as an agent of change, reshaping the image of the world around us in magnificent fashion!
All of our lives have been touched by erosion. By that, I mean we figuratively have had the winds of disappointment and the rainfall of disillusionment wear us down. Other people have reduced us to simple rubble and our lives have been altered permanently. The rock that we call our essence has had holes carved in it by those who would gladly and willfully hurt us! We have been fractured, carved, and worn down over and over.
I mentioned that erosion can be viewed as an agent of destruction or a force of creation. Yes, all of our lives have been filled with erosion, and pieces of us have been worn away! The question is, will you be the lesser for it all; or will you be stronger afterward? Will you lament that which you have lost or celebrate that which you have become? Is erosion, which will always be a part of your life, going to destroy you or create who you are?
A funny thing about the snow in the park two days ago. When it first fell, Xena’s paw would have thrust through it with no effort whatsoever. The next day, when the wind had carved away at the snow; it was hardened enough that Xena stood on it without it giving a bit! So, will you let the erosive forces in your life weaken you or strengthen you? Will erosion destroy the old you or create the new you? As for me, I am with the hound standing on the wind chiseled snow!