Posts Tagged ‘The Long Winter’

Nemo, aka The Blizzard of 2013, is over. (Why anyone decided to name such a monstrous storm after a little lost clownfish is beyond me.) We ended up with more than two feet of snow, more than I’ve ever seen at one time. On Saturday afternoon, our street (and cars) looked like this:

nemo snow storm feb 2013

My workplace was closed on Friday, and J got home before the snow and wind kicked into high gear. We had a cozy afternoon with books, tea, Sleepless in Seattle, and popcorn. The evening was cozy too, with tomato soup and grilled cheese, card games and more tea. And then, as we were brushing our teeth, the power went out.

I don’t like to think of myself as a sissy. But the next 23 hours were rough.

We stayed in bed late Saturday morning, then spent a couple of hours freeing our cars from the snowbanks:

snow shovel car nemo storm feb 2013

We did have hot water (thank heaven), so we treated ourselves to hot showers, then spent the afternoon huddled under blankets, sipping tea and piling on more layers as the apartment grew colder. I spent my afternoon with the Ingalls family (for perspective and a little courage), reading about the winter when they endured seven months of blizzards. I marveled, as always, at their grit and resourcefulness, and these words gave me pause:

Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraph and kerosene and coal stoves—they’re good things to have but the trouble is, folks get to depend on ’em.

—The Long Winter, Laura Ingalls Wilder

Pa’s words made me sharply aware of how much we depend on our modern conveniences. Refrigerators, heaters, cell phones, microwaves, the Internet – all completely useless without electricity. I did light our gas stove several times to make tea and heat up soup, but otherwise we simply had to keep wrapping up in coats and blankets and sweaters. The roads were clogged with snow (we saw several cars struggle to make it down the street, spinning their wheels uselessly), and our entire town had lost electricity. We couldn’t depend on any of the usual things.

But we could, and did, clear the snow away from our cars with muscle and hard work. We accepted sandwiches and cups of hot chocolate from our elderly neighbors, who live downstairs. We drank cup after cup of steaming tea, thankful for gas stoves and matches. And as the dark came down, we settled in for an evening of board games by candlelight.

Nemo 011

(After this photo was taken, I put on a hat and coat. It was 47 degrees in our apartment.)

Nemo 012

About nine, the heater kicked on – which meant the power was back. We whooped and danced for joy, and laughed like children. I have never been so thankful for warmth. (And what a luxury it was to wake up Sunday morning, warm all over.)

I’m back to depending on some of the usual conveniences – email, my kitchen appliances, public transportation, the Internet. And I am deeply grateful to be warm again. But I’ll remember Nemo not only for the record-breaking snow, but for the reminder that I can count on my husband’s sense of humor, my neighbors’ kindness, and my own grit and courage. (And besides, the whole weekend – now that it’s over – makes a good story.)

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