Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cold Snap

“Well, Mother,” said Alfred, “the weather is supposed to turn and we are going to have a cold snap; the temperature is going down to 20 degrees tonight.”

Mother looked around.  Every vase in the house was filled with the last roses of the season.  White English Alba Roses and the pink David Austin Rose, the Red Veteran’s Honor and the Yellow Floribunda Rose, and so many more; all the beautiful roses spilling out from Mother’s Raffaello and Laleek Vases, each vase and bouquet of roses more beautiful than the next.  Many of the potted plants had been brought in and placed on the Caravan Chelsea Iron 5 Tier Baker’s Racks in the Solarium.  The effect was stunning and luxurious.

“It certainly does look cheerful in here, but it is also a little sad, said Mother.  “Just think about how the frost will wither the myriad of lovely blossoms and roses that we have had to leave outside.”  Then she brightened a little, “But, Alfred; while it might get cold, it’s just as likely not to get quite that cold.  The Dallas News Station weathermen have been wrong before; it seems that they spend half their time just living in hope that the weather will be exciting; sort of gives them some meaning for life.”

“Quite right, Mother,” said Alfred, “but at least we are set for the winter weather, if there is any winter weather, after all, it is Dallas.”

“Well, Alfred,” said Mother when the next morning came, “The worst that can be said is that the remaining pansies in the pots outdoors look a little limp,  but the roses have survived the cold snap splendidly.  If anything they seem to enjoy the cooler weather and their magnificent blooms are thriving in the moderately chilly air.”

“There is an analogy here, Mother,” said Alfred.

Mother looked warily at Alfred, “And what might that be?”

“It’s rather like love relationships,” replied Alfred.  “We know that Spring always follows Winter, and Summer always follows Spring.  The moderate days of Autumn are sometimes host to periodic cold snaps, harbingers of winter winds.  But in Autumn there are also days of halcyon warmth, of Indian Summer.  All lovers go through cold snaps, but if their basic commitment is sound, the warmth always returns.”

“You know, Alfred, that is rather beautiful when I think about it,” said Mother.  Some people would rather live in a moderate tropic zone where the weather if always 80, but I much prefer a change of seasons.  That’s one difficulty with Texas.  We could use a good hard freeze, not that one is desirable in love relationships.  But you know what I mean.”

“You are right, Mother,” said Alfred, “I think that there is something both suspicious and monotonous with relationships that never have ups and downs.  That’s what old Screwtape meant when he referred to the principle of undulation and wrote, ‘If you had watched your patient carefully you would have seen this undulation in every department of his life—his interest in his work, his affection for his friends, his physical appetites, all go up and down.’  That same principle applies to our love relationships, to our marriage, and to our relationship with God” [Screwtape Letters, Ch. 8].

“Well,” said Mother, laughing, “That is actually a relief.  Sometimes if things get too warm for me, I find myself cooling off immediately after.”

“Well, I know,” Mother, said Alfred, “Well, I know.”

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Psalm 42:5-6).  

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