After Ma had seen them all tucked in bed, they heard and felt the blizzard strike the house. Huddled close together and shivering under the covers they listened to it. Laura thought of the lost and lonely houses, each one alone and blind and cowering in the fury of the storm. There were houses in town, but not even a light from one of them could reach another. The town was all alone on the frozen, endless prairie, where snow drifted and winds howled and the whirling blizzard put out the stars and the sun. from The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
According to our meteorologists, we’re about to get the worst snow storm we’ve had in years. Over 15 inches of snow is expected beginning tonight. So far this year, we’ve dodged the storms that occurred in the northeast, but this time it looks as if we won’t be so lucky.
The Long Winter, the sixth book in the classic Little House series, was my favorite. I’m not sure why, because I never liked winter, not even as a child. I was always sick in the winter, so I spent lots of time huddled in bed with only books for company. And the Little House books, along with Betsy-Tacy, and Harriet the Spy, were my “go to” favorite companions.
What appealed to me about The Long Winter was the sense of refuge that occurs, even in the midst of the worst storm, within the walls of the Ingalls family home. No matter how cold, Ma and Pa Ingalls made things warm and comforting inside.
The hay-fire could not keep the cold out of the kitchen, but close to the stove the air was warm. Mary’s place was in front of the oven with Grace in her lap. Carrie stood behind the stovepipe and Ma’s chair was on the other side of the stove. Pa and Laura leaned over the stove hearth into the warmth that rose upward. For breakfast there was brown bread. Ma toasted it crisp and hot in the over and she let them dip it in their tea.
In the Dakota territory, one blizzard simply melted into the next, so it seemed that every long winter day was marked by howling winds and blowing snow and drifts so high a man could get swallowed up in them trying to find his way to the barn. There were no snow plows to ease the way, to rock salt to melt the ice.
They simply waited for winter to end, trying to keep warm and fed as best they could.
And that’s what I’ll be doing, with my books to help pass the time.