The winter winds gave us another burst of cold air just as spring arrived this week in Virginia. Just as the golden buttercups beckoned to me, it became necessary to bundle up in my down jacket to gather them in mason jars where they could shine brightly indoors. The yellow ruffles encasing their trumpet faces seemed to smile in spite of winter’s final attempts to squelch their grandeur. I grinned in response to their golden glow knowing that the warmth we feel in our hearts is not determined by the winds that surely find their way to us either.
The ushering in of spring in spite of the bleak gray skies and cold winds of winter reminded me of a celebration of marriage that I attended in January. As the days drew closer to Kelly and Steve’s big day, the meteorologists’ forecast included the dreaded words of “wintry mix” and “blizzard!” Knowing my fear of driving in snow, sleet, and freezing rain, I decided this was now a destination wedding, which required staying in Smithfield, Virginia for 3 days.
Attending a wedding is always cause for merry making, and being snowed in with 200 others sharing in this “wintry mix” of merriment created much excitement and new ways of bonding. The details of the weekend were beautifully planned and implemented by their friends and family while the weather made maddening attempts to dampen our spirits with snow, sleet, rain, and even flooding.
Trying to describe the joys of being gathered together under such extreme weather conditions is hard. A concert dedicated to honor them given by their singer/songwriter friends on the night before their wedding best exemplified this happiness and the connections to one another that we cherish. There was a synergy of hope and abiding love that was given not only to Kelly and Steve but also to each of us who huddled nearby. The musicians filled our hearts, minds, and spirits to overflowing that snowy night. As we left the venue, one of the songs kept rolling around in my mind. This original tune by Karl Werne helped me preserve these memories and inspirations of this destination wedding during the blizzard entitled, “How much love?” The words, which spoke to me from this song, were: “How much love can one heart take? Let’s find it out!” The discovery of the abundance of love that can fill one’s heart was an unexpected gift to us all.
When I returned home after the wedding, the record snowfall of 18 inches greeted me as I tried to turn into my driveway. This required several hours of shoveling between my son and me. The main roads had been cleared but my neighborhood was a winter wonderland of snow-covered homes with icicles draping from the gutters. We were able to make a small enough path at the edge of the driveway where my car could sit until the snow started to melt.
The next morning as I bundled up and began walking my dogs, my neighbor was also walking her dog and said to me, “You’re the first person I’ve seen since we’ve been snowed in!” I paused for a moment as I pondered that thought and wondered how many people I had seen during the blizzard. I’m thinking at least 200 if not more in my mind, but I decided this would be too much to share given the tundra surrounding us. After chatting to her for a few more minutes, my dogs tugged their leads and we parted ways. I found myself singing, “How much love can one heart take? Let’s find it out! Let’s find it out!” The warmth in our hearts is not determined by the winter winds that surely will blow!