What Did You Find Beneath the Snow?

As spring approaches, the hidden (and thought to be lost) is revealed.

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Posted in , Mar 12, 2015

Sulamannen, the snow man who watches over the Norwegian port city of Ålesund.

Yesterday it was 63 degrees in New York City. The filthy mounds of ice and snow that have lined the city streets for weeks have finally melted–leaving plenty of trash behind. New York magazine calls this time of year “Snow-Garbage Season.” They’re not wrong.

But of course, not all that’s left behind by the receding snow is litter. There’s a kind of miracle in the way that each spring, the earth thaws and life sprouts anew.

Perhaps that’s what inspired C.S. Lewis to make thawing winter a major plot point in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Only when Aslan defeats the evil witch does winter finally end in the Land of Narnia. The thaw reveals that the grotesque statues around the witch’s lair are actually the Narnian citizens, who finally are released from their frozen state.

The thaw sometimes reveals to us things that we thought were lost. Angels on Earth editor-in-chief Colleen Hughes, told me a story today at lunch about the time her husband dropped his wallet on a snowy day.

He wasn’t sure where–it could have happened anytime during his commute into the city. He was convinced it was lost for good. Until days later, when the snow melted. He pulled into the parking lot of the train station, and right next to his parking space he found the wallet… in a puddle of slush, with all his money and cards still inside.

Then there are oddities like the “snow man” of Ålesund, a small Norwegian port city. Every spring, as the snow melts, the figure of a man with a bushy beard and mustache, wearing a fur cap, appears on the mountain overlooking the harbor.

Local folklore has developed a number of stories about the man, who they call Sulamannen (Man of Mount Sula). Some say he resembles the former Russian Tsar, or the great Norwegian explorer Roland Amundsen. In any case, most agree that he seems to be a comforting presence, watching over the residents of the city.

What has the winter thaw revealed for you? Any surprises in your backyard? I want to hear your stories. Hopefully what you discovered was better than the muck on these city streets!

Tags: Winter,Spring
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