08 March 2018

The Long Winter

We've just experienced one of the worst spells of winter weather that's been seen in this country in decades! It was a bit different from 2010, when the snow generally fell at night, because there were blizzards on and off for days, and it was very strange small snow particles rather than our usual big flakes. On top of this there was a strong biting wind from the east, which caused the snow to build up in big drifts. And I experienced my first ever thunder snow!
It was more or less impossible to go anywhere by car for a few days, and my work was closed for three days. And the shops completely sold out of milk and bread.
In the middle of a three days' blizzard, it was almost inevitable that I would turn to re-reading The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. In this book, Laura's family move to the nearby small town to ride out the predicted bad winter, which turns out to be worse than anyone expects, and they end up close to both starvation and freezing to death. Laura and her classmates almost get lost in a blizzard, the family have to grind up seed wheat to make bread, twist together hay to make fuel, and the girls doubt that there will be a visit from Father Christmas at all.

If I'd read this book first as a child, I might have thought it was fiction, but, because my first read of it was as an adult, I understood straight away that these were real people whose lives had really been in danger. 
Re-reading it now actually made me really appreciative of all that we have in this modern day and age, when all we have to worry about is whether we can get the car out to go to a supermarket, and whether they will have exactly what we want when we get there.

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