merry christmas 3 | the both and | shorts and longs | julie rybarczyk

merry christmas 4 | the both and | shorts and longs | julie rybarczyk

I know. Is that brilliant, or what?

Seriously. The kids and I were on our way home yesterday afternoon when we spotted this most-amazing use of last week’s 17″ snowstorm. Obviously, I had to turn the car around. In case you haven’t heard, I like finding things on the side of the road.

R-girl was a little iffy about shooting pictures of a stranger’s yard. I, however, wasn’t (because if you’re going to create something that cool on a semi-busy road, I’m guessing you might want folks to enjoy it) so I stepped out and started snapping. Just then a car pulled up, a man got out, and I heard: “Hey, what’s with the camera?”

I turned around. “Oh my gosh! Is this your house?!”

He nodded.

Weird. For some reason I had pictured someone completely different behind this work of art. Someone about 40 years younger and possibly with a crew of enthusiastic little minions. Or children. I wasn’t convinced this snow was actually his but I figured we could share the love anyway: “It’s so amazing. I love it!”

He smiled.

“Can I please take some pictures?”

“Of course you can,” laughed the sweet, grandfatherly fellow—who proceeded to fill in the details of his snowy creation:
– He has made his living (almost a living, he says) as a sculptor.
– This year they couldn’t afford to send Christmas cards so he figured, since the snow and the labor are free, he’d do this instead.
– He created this exact same message out on the farm 70 years ago.
– There are four types of snow. This was the perfect one for sculpting.

Did I mention that he was adorable, with a facetious grin and a continual twinkle of humor?

I asked his name and he said, “I’m the one and only Bill Olson.”*

sculptor | the both and | shorts and longs

You might have to live in Minnesota to catch the irony.

When I got home, I couldn’t resist researching this mysterious sculptor a bit. And, wow.

Those are just a few of the pieces that he has sculpted over the years.

The thing that amazes me most about sculptors is their vision. That ability to see something beautiful where everyone else sees just a block of stone or a chunk of clay, and to firmly hold the big picture in their minds even while they are focused on one small, isolated detail.

I can only occasionally—and very clumsily—do that, and usually it has something to do with trying to help shape my children’s hearts.

Never a pile of snow.

merry christmas | the both and | shorts and longs | julie rybarczyk.jpgWhat a wonderful gift to share with all of us this Christmas, wouldn’t you say?

Merry Christmas, to one of my most charming roadside finds ever. And to all of you!


*That’s not his real name—but it’s in the same genre. You know, Bob Larson, Tom Peterson, John Johnson… Yes, “Bill” gave me permission to feature him here on the blog, but I’m pretty sure he has no clue what a blog is, and I’m feeling a little protective of him. Of course, if you are wanting to hire a great sculptor, let me know and I’ll hook you up!

by julie rybarczyk