Dancing with delight in kitchen window on a frosty morning

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, December 5, 2013

Click to view a larger version

My wife, Mary Anna, could hardly wait till I arrived home for lunch the other day to show me something beautiful beyond words that totally engaged her imagination, and soon held mine captive, too.

But more about that in a moment. First, a few of the many responses to last week’s column.

You’ll recall that I based that column on an encounter I had with the cracked surface of an old dinner plate. In its intriguing pattern I thought at first I’d find hints of swirling galaxies and weather systems as seen from space. Instead, I encountered an Advent image of the Virgin Mary at the moment the angel Gabriel announced to her that she would give birth to Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah.

From Ottawa, Rosalind Weeks wrote:

“Incredible. The most beautiful portrayal of the Annunciation I've ever seen. It conveys the mystery in an awe-inspiring yet very intimate way. What a beautiful message for this season. Also for your Muslim readers.”

Muslim readers? Yes! The story of Mary is front-and-centre in their sacred writings, too, just as in the Christian Scriptures. Here’s a response from Calgary Muslim author Dr. David Liepert:

“I think it is absolutely beautiful. To me, this piece looks like ‘the one from whom all else was made,’ entrusting Jesus' crafting to Mary at God's initiation, Mary being ‘the one from whom Jesus was made,’ by the Word of God.

“These are deep mysteries: Word requires meaning and breath, and you know that I think that's why our Holy Books equate Spirit with Breath so often. God made breath, and forced form upon it. Creation requires both clay and potter. Word requires meaning and exhalation. Music requires singer and song.”

Finally, this note from Darryl Klassen, of Langley, B.C., the Aboriginal Neighbours program coordinator for the Mennonite Central Committee British Columbia:

“Thank you for sharing this. Jesus said, ‘Let those who have ears to hear, listen,’ and we might add, and those who have eyes to see, see. This is such a beautiful affirmation of the fact that God speaks to us in quiet, secret ways, and only when we are really paying attention do we see or hear.”

Which brings me back to Mary Anna’s show-and-tell about something in our kitchen window that caught her attention that wintry morning – something truly exquisite in its crystalline detail.

Along the bottom of the glass she noticed some unusual frost formations. They looked like ballet dancers performing arabesques.

And they were small. Their bodies were no larger than a ladybug’s, but their outstretched limbs were jubilant in their celebration of the gift of a new day.

Fortunately, Mary Anna’s camera was only a few steps away, sitting on the kitchen island for just such moments of sacred serendipity as this. She grabbed it, got up real close-and-friendly with the frost dancers, and applauded their performance with the photo accompanying this column.

Several of our coffee companions have emphasized to me just how important the power of imagination is. In fact, for both my wife and me, imagination and the gift of seeing are very closely related.

Thank you, Mary Anna, for engaging my imagination through your attention to that frosty-morning ballet.


© 2013 Warren Harbeck

Return to Coffee With Warren home page