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Upon the Drifts

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The spring semester is always tough. Some of you have experienced it: Christmas is gone, the New Year has settled in, the winter drags on and the class projects keep mounting. It’s cold outside, you feel drained inside your body and the brisk air seems to send you into emotional hypothermia instead of making you alert.
This poem is more metaphorical than literal. However, the physical setting was likely inspired by numerous trips I made through the snow between Heritage Hall and the rest of campus. I encourage you to not give up when the going gets tough. Eternal spring is indeed on the way and persevering through hardship is the Christian’s glory because it bears witness to the God who sustains them.

Upon the Drifts

Upon the deep snow drifts I trod––

Grip––grip––through the deep night.

Flakes, like delicate crystals, fly softly, softly by––

Grip––grip––grip.

The sole of my shoe, hard, dry and waxed,

Fails to stay steady, like a tree with its roots pulled free.

With my hands in my pockets and a taught ruddy face,

Head down, I trod the drifts of snow.

I wish this journey were over;

I feel restless, as though everywhere is nowhere.

Where did all this snow come from and where will it go?

Who will I be when it is gone?

Life is measured out by a dictator called Time.

Tick––tick––tick––tick––

There is no way out, no place to run,

Where I may flee this immovable clock.

Why must I submit?––––I am no slave.

Or am I? Have I been deceived?

Life is not really a choice, it seems.

We are forced to make a move one way or the other.

Tick––tock––tick––tock––

There is no way out–––am I just wasting time?

What shall I do? I cannot rebel.

I am powerless, my very existence depends on it.

The snow continues to pass under my feet,

Around my face and around my thin legs,

As time ticks and ticks away.

I am just where I started.

“Perhaps,” in my desperate optimism I wonder,

“Snow is more than a drift.

There must be a reason; perhaps it is more like a gift,

And by passing through and over it there is gain.”

Perhaps I am meant to wear these slippery shoes.

At least I am warm; maybe its is not all that bad.

I can see nothing in this blizzard in the night. Well,

Perhaps I could have been born not seeing at all.

And these hands in my pockets, at least they are there;

Feeling the cold would be better than not feeling at all.

But if life is hard, that is no guarantee.

Is a hard existence better than never existing at all?

Why not give in, lay down and sleep?

What drives my feet on if I am going nowhere?

If there is a purpose, I know not where it is

Nor how I may reach it. I am truly at a loss.

I pause in the night, my feet ankle-deep.

As I breathe out a sigh, I feel the snow trickle into my shoe.

The air is silent, like a great, full pillow;

My ears throb with the silence, my head tilts up.

I am much warmer than I thought I was,

My body is even breaking a sweat.

I’m quite content in this moment of rest

Watching the clouds of snow float silently down.

I will seize these few moments before they slip by;

I will play along with Time’s rule.

And since I cannot create time I know what I must do.

The only choice I am given is to make a decision.

I will embrace all moments I am given to live.

These, too, like snow, are really generous gifts.

They are not meant to limit and drive men to despair

But to remind and awaken a zeal to care:

To care about time, to care about people.

The moments are few, but I am not to blame;

My place is to live well with only the right aim.

Through snow and darkness–––beyond these is gain.

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