Icicle inspires amid weariness of winter

Icicle inspires amid weariness of winter

He wasn’t very big — maybe three inches, tops. But he was stubborn. This steadfast icicle had been hanging on the door of my son’s Jeep for weeks, so long that I named him: Sam.

Tucked in the shade of my driveway, Sam never got the sun that would have freed him. Nor the trip that would have warmed him — since my son is in college, 3,000 miles away, in California with its sunny, yet still unruly, weather.

Sam hung there, lonely, isolated. And yet he sparkled among the last remnants of snow and brightened the errant mud that had slid under his pristine point. I wondered about his fate just before we received the latest blast of snow/sleet/ice “wintry mix.” I’ve decided I don’t like that term, “wintry mix.” It means uncertainty and I’ve about had it with winter and all its uncertainty this year. I’ve rescheduled more than I’ve scheduled and that’s tough for a gal who believes that not much is possible without a plan.

“What’s planned is possible,” Dad taught us at a young age.

My lingering buddy, Sam, is the perfect example of a thwarted plan. I’m sure his intention was to melt with the rest of the snow and ease his way down my driveway into the mulch bed that hosts my spring bulbs.

Yet, his plan was interrupted, frozen in time.

However, Sam was more than just frozen water.

“An icicle,” my father once wrote, “is working water stymied in its pursuit by a hostile environment.”

Now that’s a dramatic definition! But it makes sense if we consider Sam’s journey. As he moved through his life cycle, he worked through all sorts of obstacles — thick rocks, hard ground, trees with strong roots, and everything in God’s, and finally onto man’s, creation. Then something bigger grabbed him, slowed him, and finally stopped him by making him solid, almost as solid as the rock he had just worked his way through.

The “something bigger” was his environment — freezing temperatures. Something he had absolutely no control over and something he could not defeat but merely react to.

Perhaps Sam is a “frozen reminder” that there are some things in life over which we have absolutely no control. We are at the mercy of situations that happen in our world, and in turn to us.

We may go about our daily duties, working our way through all sorts of obstacles with some degree of accomplishment. But then some unruly “wintry mix” comes along that stops our pursuit and freezes us at a point. Our plans change in an instant; all we can do is react in the best way we can.

And then we can remember Sam. Even with the pursuit of his purpose stopped, he can give beauty. Soon he will be freed from nature’s hold and return to his intended pursuit. In the meantime, he copes with his hostile environment, inspiring patience.

But to be honest, I’m weary. How many more days until spring?

This column was originally published as part of my “Looking Homeward” series at Herald-Dispatch.com.