Surprisingly Beautiful, Surprisingly Wonderful

I know that it occasionally snows in April, but there's a difference between cognitively understanding this and actually expecting it to occur.  But it did occur, as if nature played a last-ditch April Fools joke on us overnight, then softly chuckled and channeled its inner Mr. T ("Pity the fools!") while we shoveled our driveways and brushed off our cars this morning.

I've tolerated winter for the past several months, but now I've moved past winterish practices, both mentally and physically.  I vehemently object to them, in fact, but despite my internal protest the snow still fell last night.

And this morning it was surprisingly beautiful.

Yes, as I walked across campus to reach my first class of the day, sidestepping clumps of snow as they dropped from the treetops onto the sidewalks below, I couldn't get over how stunning it was.  I mean, it was the perfect snowfall.  Every branch was coated.  It was magical and whimsical, like Narnia. 

And it was fleeting.  By the time I left campus, the trees had shed their magical covering and the snow melted in rivulets across parking lots and sidewalks.  (Clearly, the next stop on this train lurching toward spring will be mud season.)

When I arrived home, I found that my kitchen had been occupied by my daughters and several of their friends.  With the whole day off from school for parent-teacher conferences, they already had gone sledding and shed their snowsuits, boots, and gloves at our front door.  Now they were immersed in the next activity of the day: hosting a Chopped cooking championship at our kitchen island.  (I entered during the appetizer round.)

It was a hot mess involving Tabasco sauce, lemon juice, sandwich rolls, roasted red peppers, and a host of other assorted ingredients (leftover hard boiled eggs! Nilla Wafers! Garlic! Parmesan cheese!), but the scene was surprisingly wonderful, too.  I sat in the adjacent room to work at the computer, overhearing the "host" interview the "contestants" and count down the timer: "One minute!  You have one minute!  It's time to start plating!"  One chef chided the others, "Clean your stations as you go!"

This day surprised me.  I hadn't expected or wanted snow, but it came and it was beautiful.  I hadn't expected seven kids to raid my refrigerator and host a mock cooking show at my kitchen island, but they did and it was delightfully creative.

It's good to look for what's surprisingly beautiful, surprisingly wonderful.


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