We walked our prayers along a Big Sky catwalk on this night. The children had all fallen asleep and we left them in grandparents' care while we went to crunch our way through the chilled, still winterscape. What was immediately evident was the sensory experience of our supplications. Every prayer was unleashed on a ribbon of breath while the cold night air stung our every lung. With every step there echoed the crunch of Montana-high-country snow, which has its own taste and scent, too. Everything seemed so still. So absolutely frozen and lifeless. Yet, it only took the mere twinkle of a star to remind us of how much dynamic movement there really was going on all about us: our very own earth planet was in cycle, as was the celestial sky above. Every tree contained a dormant energy of growth and renewal. So this became our prayer: That when our lives appear stagnant and still, we know you are moving, O Lord. That when we feel cold and dark, we know that You are our internal life-force. That when we feel nothing moving in our dreams, You are there to light up our inspirations.
And then we came back to the warmth of our Big Sky home and were immediately struck by the presence, warmth and dynamic movement of the fire within the hearth. Its dancing, hot flames were in contrast to Winter's silent setting just beyond the door. This fire, this energy was a display of exuberance and reminded me of Annie Dillard's wonderful words:
If the landscape reveals one certainty, it is that the extravagant gesture is the very stuff of creation. After the one extravagant gesture of creation in the first place, the universe has continued to deal exclusively in extravagances, flinging intricacies and colossi down aeons of emptiness.... The whole show has been on fire from the word go. I come down to the water to cool my eyes. But everywhere I look I see fire; that which isn't flint is tinder, and the whole world sparks and flames.