One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season is to drive around on a wintery day and listen to The Waltz of the Snowflakes from The Nutcracker.
All. The. Feels.
I have seen The Nutcracker more times than I can count. As a dancer, it’s always been such a festive and special way to celebrate the season. When I was a little girl, my mom would take me to see it every year until I was into my teen years. In adulthood I have lost count of the times I’ve seen it as well. Also—When I was ten years old I actually performed in The Nutcracker. So I know this music inside and out. As I listen to each song, I see the dancers in my mind performing. I see the costumes. I see myself sitting in a seat staring at the stage in wonder. I feel all the excitement as if I were there.
It’s all so breathtakingly beautiful.
There’s something extra special about not only The Waltz of the Snowflakes song (which is magnificent by the way), but the dance piece itself. If you don’t know anything about this ballet I will educate you for a moment. Clara receives a magical nutcracker from her uncle on Christmas Eve that comes to life at the end of the first act. The Nutcracker Prince then takes her on a journey into the land of sweets. On their way there, they enter through the forest which is where the Waltz of the Snowflakes takes place. If I could give you one word to describe this moment, it would be—Magical. Nothing I have yet to see has ever compared to this work of art. It doesn’t matter how many times I watch it or how many times I listen to the song as I drive around on a wintery day—It’s just as spectacular every time.
This moment in the ballet is the in between space where Clara has left behind her home, but hasn’t yet reached where she is going. It’s the journey. It’s the last dance piece in the first act, but the beginning of something new. The second act is filled with lively music, colorful costumes, and a playfulness that is all parallel to Clara’s whimsical dreams. This creative work of art is lighthearted and kid friendly. The land of sweets will have any little boy or girl whirling around in their mind as they watch the ballerinas twirl and leap across the stage. Prior to all of that though, it has that moment…
A journey through the forest moment.
As I write this, it is the day after our first major snowfall of the new winter season. So as I was driving around today taking in the beauty of the snow that just fell, while listening to The Waltz of the Snowflakes (naturally), I realized that right now we are in that moment. A journey through the forest moment in time. It can surely be a messy time. It can be confusing. It can feel cold and lonely. It can be filled with twists and turns that maybe you weren’t ready for.
It can also be breathtakingly beautiful.
I think there’s meaning in the fact that Clara’s journey in between worlds included a snowy wonderland—to me anyway. Snow is the perfect example of how those in between spaces in our own lives can feel. When something can be simultaneously messy and meaningful, it’s worth mentioning. I don’t need to go into detail about how 2020 has been filled with mess and meaning all in one. We all have a story of how this pandemic has effected our lives, as well as other personal messes interwoven within.
Times like these can feel like driving through a blizzard, where you are no longer able to see where you are going or even what’s right in front of you. So you pull over, deciding to get out and stretch your legs. It’s going to be a long scary ride, you think to yourself. But then… as you stand there in the cold… you happen to look down at your coat where you see a tiny little snowflake gently resting. In that moment you realize this dangerous messy unpredictable thing called snow is also one tiny perfect artistic miracle falling from the sky, one right after the next.
Have you ever looked at an actual snowflake? Like really intentionally studied all its intricacies? It’s incredible. The picture I have displayed in the beginning of this blog is not a photoshopped in snowflake. I took the picture last winter when that snowflake delicately fell on my jacket. This is real life. Don’t miss it. The detail that’s in just one single snowflake is mind blowing and perspective shifting. The fact that something so powerful and at times massively destructive is actually broken down into little fluffy pieces of art, is unbelievable.
There’s meaning there.
I am not implying that COVID and this moment in time hasn’t been devastating or that we should neglect to really wrestle with that. For many of you, this year has been filled with much pain and loss. All I am suggesting is that you take a rest. Pull over. Get out of the vehicle even just for a few minutes. Stretch your legs. Take a deep breath. Look down at your coat… and see the tiny wonderful reminder that there can be beauty in the battles and hope in hardships. God is blessing you among this battle right now in ways that He isn’t for anyone else. That’s the magical part about snowflakes—There are no two the same.
At the end of the first act everyone claps as the curtains close. They clap because what they just saw was outstanding, but if like me they have seen it before then they also know what is coming.
We aren’t in the land of sweets yet, but someday we will be. Our curtains have not yet closed on this journey. We are still in the forest—The snowy cold chaotic unpredictable forest. It’s going to get better though. Then the applause will come, because there was wonder in the waiting.
Don’t miss it.
And if you have never driven around in the snow while listing to The Waltz of the Snowflakes…
I highly suggest it.