Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cassadaga Ridge

December 28, 2016

Locally, we call it "Cassadaga Ridge;" it extends through Chautauqua County between Forestville and Ripley, winding through the villages of Cassadaga and Sherman in between. It is part of the primordial lakeshore of what is known to geologists as Lake Iroquois. It meets the Niagara Escarpment near Lewiston, and continues eastward along the southern shore of Lake Ontario along rte 104, known locally as Ridge Road till it reaches the village of Sodus, east of Rochester. It lies about fifteen miles inland of the present lakes Erie and Ontario. In our locale, it stretches northeast, and is a significant contributor to our local weather patterns.

Linda and I visited my mother in Churchville, NY, a few miles southwest of Rochester. Leaving about 8:30 this morning, when we reached the Thruway near Fredonia, I commented on the lack of snow, which continued the remainder of the trip to Churchville. Green grass all the way, with the exception of a few patches of lingering snow in small areas protected from the sun. On the way home tonight, I predicted that we wouldn't see snow again till we reached the Cassadaga ridge. I was right. We started to see snow as we ascended three-legged hill, arriving home to a yard completely swathed in white.

We often have said that in the winter, one will find snow from Cassadaga to Fredonia, or from Cassadaga to Sinclairville, but either way, it will be snow in Cassadaga. It wasn't unusual to have to plow our driveway three times a day when we lived there. It's amazing how that small rise in altitude from the lakeshore to Cassadaga can make such a difference in the weather. Grapes flourish along the shores of the ancient lakebed; by the time one gets to Cassadaga, there isn't a vineyard to be found. I planted seven of them in our backyard in Cassadaga, and they are doing quite well, but a full vineyard there wouldn't amount to much.

Climate is big stuff; weather is more local, and it is that in which we live. We can't do much about either, except for learning its ways and how to adapt to it. Cursing the snow doesn't make it go away. It's better to break out the skis or snowshoes and learn to live with it. Living along the high side of the Cassadaga Ridge, this is especially true. Ultimately, all weather, like politics, is local. Ours is considerably different than our neighbors just ten miles down the road. Spring comes later, and winter earlier here.

God seems to delight in difference. I am glad for it, even when it is hard to manage. Linda and I are very different, which at times causes problems, but also creates much of the energy that keeps us growing together. He calls the stars by name, and even knows my name, my real identity. He gave us all different gifts and interests. I'm thankful tonight for the uniqueness of where we live that reminds me of God's attention to detail. He knows me...ME! And you. Nothing about us surprises him, nothing stymies him. He is relentless in his love and pursuit of us in order that Christ may be found in us and shine through us in unique ways that are only possible because of the unique way he has shaped each of us, just as he shaped the geological formations of the Cassadaga Ridge.

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