Well, here it is the 21st of April and a wet heavy snow lies on the ground. The temperature this morning was about 27F and tomorrow morning promises to be a bit colder than that. Friends of mine just returned from Florida this week – bet they wish they’d stayed a few days longer! The Killdeer nesting by the crab apple trees in the church parking lot was hunkered down surrounded by a rim of snow. The local peach crop just got whacked and the apple crop at least diminished. If April showers bring May flowers then what does April snow bring? Woe and Lamentations! That’s what!
OK, it probably isn’t as bad as all that. It’s not like this is the first April snow we’ve ever seen. There have even been some May snows. In 1956, in Central Indiana, there were at least a few snowflakes in the air early in June! The Kildeer will still hatch her brood. Peaches have not perished from the face of the earth. And by the weekend the weather is forecasted to be fine.
But somehow, a couple inches of snow and sub-freezing temperatures seem less troubling in January than April. In part it’s a matter of expectations – it’s supposed to be cold and snowy in January! But it’s also a matter of risk. Cold and snow in January doesn’t cost us much. In April, every April, someone gets the itch too early and gets plants (other than spinach, beets, and other cold resistant stuff) out and – a lot of work comes to nothing. Peach trees in Northeast Ohio are a built in risk and if heroic measures are not taken in weather like this, there is a cost. Of course, the heroic measures cost something too. You have to weigh it all up and make a decision. My decision would be not to plant peach trees in Northeast Ohio!
So, expectations and risk - but then, the risk was based in part on the expectations. If mother nature was a real person she would no doubt laugh when she hears us – It’s so warm! I bet there won’t be another frost!
For what it’s worth, in 1999, 2000, and 2001, here in the East Canton area, there was either a frost or an outright freeze on the last night of May/first morning of June. And though there was no frost, I remember a youth group camp out in early July when everyone was sorry they didn’t bring more blankets.
Expectations, risk and the inappropriate presence of cold and snow: hmmmm.
There are some things and kinds of things that can be taken for granted in the world but are catastrophic when present in the church. Like snow in April, worldly values are out of place and very costly in the household of faith.
Pastor and Author Terry Bailey, Senior Minister of Indian Run Christian Church