Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blizzard #2 update

I am reporting here from day 1 of blizzard #2 here in the Northeast.

I can remember as a child reading the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My favorite book of the series was always "Little House in the Big Woods", the first book that dealt with Laura's early childhood in Wisconsin. I enjoyed the descriptions of the woods, the animals they encountered, and their efforts to live off of the land.

As an adult I discovered the series again. I read through all the books and discovered that I enjoyed "The Long Winter" much more. I found it to be very well written and I appreciated the drama that accompianied the family's efforts to survive a winter in which blizzards were the norm rather than the exception. I felt their pain as they struggled to stay warm and celebrated with them when the first warm breezes of spring appeared, meaning that the supply train would soon be running again. I even started a small investigation of my own, to see if the dates and locations for the book coincided with a phenomenon I had read about called the "Little Ice Age". (They do match up, by the way)

Well, I now feel like I am living that book. Last week's snowstorm was severe, but beautiful in it's own way. The lonely desolation of the snow covered landscape seemed to inspire memories of Robert Frost poems that I studied in school. This week's snowstorm, which is piling multiple feet of snow on top of the previous multiple feet of snow, is just plain frightening. I am desperately trying to clear a path to the heat pump just like Charles Ingalls tried to clear a path to the cows. The intention is no less urgent. Just as they rationed food to try to keep enough to survive while waiting for the supply train, I am rationing milk products while waiting for the snow to stop enough to make a 7-11 run.

At the same time, though, I realize how lucky we are to be living through this in 2010. I can talk to my friends through the internet. I can get entertainment through the radio and television. I am praying currently that the power doesn't go out, as we are really a generation that does not know how to entertain ourselves. In Laura Ingall's time, there was no television, cable, Wii, or computers. They didn't need all the distractions, they were busy surviving. Baking their own bread, milking their own rapidly freezing cows, and twisting straw into something they could burn for heat.

So who is to say that they weren't better off in some ways. I guess if you aren't used to having instant entertainment piped into your house, you don't really need it. Maybe we should take a cue from Ingalls family and just enjoy this rare opportunity in this time and age to just be together as a family, and thank God that we still have power and food.

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