THE WINTER OF MY DISCONTENT

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In the past I’ve written about “the wonder of wafting flakes, the cushy clumps of white upon the evergreens, the comfort of saying the word, “brrrr” as I peek outside, simultaneously rubbing my hands together as I smell the bouquet of baking ginger cookies.” And I have referenced the Snow Queen, surveying her wintry domain, here on her/my hill, looking out at crystals and icicles. All the Minnesota novelties to a California girl.

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Silly me. It’s our third winter here on Mt. Faith. And it is no longer thrilling, definitely not poetic, absolutely over-the-top ridiculous, are you-kidding-me absurd, what were we thinking, and frankly – I never knew Midgard, our mother Earth could be such a bitch. Sorry.

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It has been weeks with below zero temperatures (read that 40 plus below with the wind chill) and not much hope in sight. As I write these words the blizzard is in full force, the Frost Giants hurling the storm with a vengeance. And I can only ask myself – how did my darling Grammy Marie and Grandma Pauline and Great Grandma Elin survive in this land?

If I am inside with central fuel oil heating, and no need to regularly traverse the frozen slopes to the designated outside “bathroom,” and not dependent on long, arduous ski runs, over a hundred miles away, to Alexandria for basic supplies, then how indeed can I complain and whine?

How did they do it? How ever, these ancestors of ours on the upper plains, did they live in log cabins and holes dug into the ground until they could construct a proper structure? How was it possible to stay warm and sane when all hell broke loose and the Gods reigned havoc upon this land?

I can’t even get down my driveway (actually, not back UP again) and it is making me crazy. My calendar is loaded with appointments – meetings for planning 1 Vegetable/1 Community (beets this year), Lake Region Writers Network task force for conferences, Master Gardener information booth at the mall, Unitarian group facilitators meeting, fiber day potluck, book launch party, garden club program, Someplace Safe benefit tea. And that’s all in the first two weeks of February.

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And no. We’re not contemplating moving back to California. But we have new respect for our fellow Minnesotans who manage to go on with life and laugh about their homeland and say “Uff Da” a lot. It must have been bred-in by the likes of Grammies Marie and Pauline and Elin, and if that’s the case I guess I need to practice dredging up my inner Norwegian.

For one, I’ve made a promise to myself to begin to sort through seed catalogues (note: ONLY those on the Monsanto-Free list!) and plot out the new garden that I pre-prepared last fall, focusing on bee and butterfly friendlies – monarda and asclepias, sunflower and cosmos and goldenrod, Joe Pye weed and salvias.

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And whenever I look out the window, instead of cursing and focusing on the dreaded driveway, I must envision all the promises of the spring to come. Especially the peonies which we separated from the Clara and Hemnes cemeteries and the old home at Hickson, and that represent my personal heritage, thanks to Marie and Pauline and Elin. 

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And last – T.M. must order new snow tires. 

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This entry was posted in bees, Claustrophobia, COMMUNITY, Gardening, minnesota life, mythology, Norwegian, SNOW, storm, WEATHER. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to THE WINTER OF MY DISCONTENT

  1. Beth says:

    I always wondered what came over our ancestors to settle in such a (weather wise) miserable place. Not all of them kept sane, you know. More than one prairie farm wife went nuts and had to be put into a sanitarium. I was told that my cousin’s wife went mad out at their isolated farmstead and put arsenic in all the hot cocoa one morning at breakfast. Fortunately, the husband tasted the bitterness, spit it out and got the children’s cocoa thrown away, thereby averting a tragedy. I guess his wife was put in a sanitarium after that. Probably someplace like that big hospital in Fergus. Great to read! I feel the same way, trust me!

  2. Gerri says:

    After spending the past five weeks in Florida, I was curious to read your take on this winter, Diane. Every time we checked the weather, Fergus Falls was -20 with a -38 wind chill. I was so glad to read that even showbirdredux thinks the winter of 2014 is a bit much! Hope to see you soon. Gerri

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