Shifting time zones has given us an opportunity to adjust our habitual getting up time, to take advantage of the early morning hours, and go to bed earlier, thus maximising available hours of winter light. There is something special about praying and mediating in the dawn hours, especially as the poetic cadences of the Liturgy of the Hours rises with increased expectation of the Coming. I look to the Lord, I will await the God who saves me. Know that the kingdom of God is at hand, be sure that he will not delay. And tonight at Evening Prayer, the antiphon that gives its Latin name to this day:
you come forth from the mouth of the Most High.
You fill the universe, and hold all things together
in a strong yet gentle manner.
O come to teach us the way of truth.
Rachel, Jasmine and Clare went into Invermere this morning, to get some repairs done to the Jeep. I stayed behind, and took myself off around the golf course on my new skis instead. The sky was once more clear perfect blue and the temperature around minus five. I started off gingerly in the few tracks left by other skiers, but soon found that the untouched snow condition was perfect to ski hors traces, albeit fairly slowly in places where it was deeper. The initial dump of snow had been followed by continued cold weather, so it hadn't melted and compacted into ice or hard snow beneath the crust, so the skis moved nicely under my weight both uphill and downhill. Such sweet pleasure! So good to have the time and freedom to savour it! And it's such great exercise.
I limited myself to an hour's first outing although I could have gone further. First I have to find out how fit and resilient I am. It's at least two years since I last skiied, so I'm thankful the body's memory of balance and control of those narrow sliding edges seems still to be in place.
For me there's no better place than a hillside with views of forests and mountains for many miles to rouse the heart to praise the Great Author of all that exists, the One who holds all things together in a strong yet gentle manner. Isn't that a great way to speak about climate, ecosystems, planets and galaxies. Poetry bridges the communications gap between humans in a way mathematics fails to.
I read a news report this week that CERN's first batch of observations from the Large Hadron Collider has dealt a heavy blow to proponents of the string theory description of the basic common components of all particles of matter. The mystery of how all things hold together may yet yield its secrets to those who probe the depths, but I love the fact that despite our superbly powerful technology and know-how, nature still gives us a hard time, and keeps us in our place as 'children of dust'.