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.



8 thoughts on “Blizzard

  1. Becca, stay safe. This morning’s UK news had the cyclone that is about to hit the coast of Queensland, Australia, followed immediately by reports on your storm. It puts the cold that we’ve been suffering from into some sort of proportion. Although I have to say, I still hate the cold. Stay indoors and read.

    • I looked outside this morning with some trepidation, but the wind has died down, the snow has stopped, and it looks as if we didn’t get more than 8 inches or so, a far cry from the 15 they were forecasting!

      Still, it’s an official Snow Day, and I plan to take full advantage! Maisie Dobbs, here I come 🙂

  2. It’s funny you should say that, The Long Winter was your favorite. It’s one of my most favorite, too. Also, we’ve received the same snow of which you speak. School’s closed, we’re home from Florida (where I turned fifty over the weekend), and I’m so grateful for God’s protection. Hope you are all safe and dry, too, and I loved reading your post about Laura’s experience. She, her family, were so very brave.

    • I saw your pictures of the Naples pier…I was there two weeks ago, and sure wish I hadn’t come home! A very nice place to celebrate your birthday, though 🙂
      I really enjoyed looking through all my vintage Little House books.

    • Not as bad as predicted, thank goodness. A pretty normal winter storm actually.

      I’ve done some reading about Wilder’s relationship with her daughter Rose, but am interested in more. I recall reading your blog post and the article about it – thanks for the link so I could revisit that.

      I imagine your kids are off school today…enjoy the snow day with them!

  3. I never read the Little House books, until my daughter showed an interest–so we got through nearly all of them. But Harriet the Spy?! She was my “go-to” gal at ten, and she still is. Something about that sweatshirt 😉
    Hope you weren’t socked too badly by the snow.

  4. I love the coziness of The Long Winter, now that I’ve already read it and know how it turns out! I remember being terrified the first time. I love to read it in the height of summer, laying out by the pool. 🙂

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