Several years ago, I signed Siara up for voice lessons at her request. She had dreams of a future in the theatre after she and Shanna did a stint as children in the local high school production of "The King and I". She had a natural flair for the dramatic so I thought singing would round out her talents. I drove her each week to an old church that smelled like "old, mildewy basement", and hung out with the younger siblings while she sang "HIPPOPOTAMUS" and other funny phrases over and over.
After several months of lessons, it was time for the recital. Her voice teacher had a lot of students --most of them ranged from elementary to high school age. We all gathered in a large auditorium in an old Vancouver church. As is usually the case, some were better than others. I admired the courage of each one to stand in front of an audience and sing. Siara sang a sweet song: "The Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas. And in my unbiased opinion, I think she was fantastic. After everyone had sung, the voice teacher announced that she had one last student- he was the one who had done all of the technical/sound work for the recital. And he was going to sing a song he had written himself.
A rather frightening-looking guy walked onto the stage. He had long, greasy, stringy hair. He was wearing battered jeans and a ratty shirt. He grabbed the microphone like he was Mick Jagger and started wailing a creepy love song so off-key it was like fingernails on a chalkboard--but it had a lovely repeating phrase: "In the heart of winter" which he belted out much louder than the rest of the song ( that's why it stands out in my mind all these years later). This he punctuated with a dramatic flip of his stringy locks and a cringe-inducing hip swivel. The audience full of parents, grandparents and assorted relatives of the sweet children who had sung that evening sat in stunned silence.
I thought of it yesterday because when I was heading home from subbing in seminary Friday morning, the roads were frosted over and it was 26 degrees. I saw a poor woman skid down the road and crash into a wall. I pulled over and ran to see if she was ok. She was shaking and crying but she said she was fine. A police car arrived shortly after that, so I went on my way. I was thinking: "I'm tired of this cold, frosty weather. When is winter going to be over? Oh darn, we're only about half-way through it...we are IN THE HEART OF WINTER!"