We're into our 3rd winter on the prairie. Right now the winds are howling, school is already delayed two hours tomorrow, and I struggled around the farm with Mike doing "chores" earlier- using him for a windbreak. If you know Mike, he's not much of a windbreak!
Winter #1-- Shock and Awe. There was a curious novelty of screaming blizzards, blowing curtains (when the windows were closed), and facing the elements on the wide open, sparsely populated prairie.
Winter #2-- Long long winter. Last winter was nothing if not long. Really long. It is a blur of really long winter. It dully soaked into my psyche that out here on the prairie there is a thin veil between our well being and that blizzard blowing out there -- again-- keeping me awake-- again.
Winter #3-- This winter. This is a good winter. A few new windows help. I put the boys down for their afternoon nap today and said "hey look! the 'curtains' aren't blowing." Maybe its using the snowshoes-- more fun in the snow. Maybe its because I'm getting a lot more sleep- kinda hibernating- or the security that comes with that family set of -15 below rated sleeping bags. Or possibly reading Laura Ingell's "Long Winter" in which they nearly starve to death in the winter of 1881 just a few miles west of here. I, on the other hand and 130 years later, had a homemade shrimp and nettle pizza tonight for dinner in a howling blizzard on that same prairie.
Each night around here we take a few moments of stillness (no easy feat with a pair of monkey boys) and give thanks aloud. On a night like tonight there is a lot to be thankful for-- just in contrast to the Long Winter. We are warm, have lights, food, and family safe together.
Now if only the shingles weren't rattling off the roof above my bed.